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TSX Slides Despite Strong Economic Data -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks were lower Monday, as slumping oil prices continued to weigh on the energy sector.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 48.17 points, or 0.31 percent, to 15,442.32.

In economic news, Canada's wholesale sales rose 3.3 percent to a record high $59.1 billion in January. This was the largest monthly percentage gain since November 2009, when wholesale sales rose 3.8 percent.

Pengrowth Energy (PGF.TO) has reached an agreement to sell north central Alberta properties for $180 million. Shares jumped 7.4 percent.

The Washington Companies said on Sunday it had previously made a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of mining company Dominion Diamond Corp. (DDC.TO) for $13.50 a share. Diamond stock surged up 23 percent.

Hudson's Bay Co. (HBC.TO) says the emails and phone numbers of some Saks Fifth Avenue customers were leaked. The stock was down 3.5 percent.

WTI crude oil was down 56 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $48.22/bbl.

Markers paid some attention to remarks from Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans hinting at as many as four rate hikes this year.

"I think three is entirely possible, as I gain more confidence in the outlook I could support three total this year. If inflation began to pick up, that would certainly solidify my report. It could be three, it could be two, it could be four if things really pick up," Evans told the FOX Business Network.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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