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China GDP May Boost Markets -- Canadian Commentary

Early signals are mostly positive for Canadian stocks Monday morning, as upbeat Chinese economic data hinted at demand for metals and energy products.

China's economy expanded at a steady pace in the second quarter, as gross domestic product grew 6.9 percent year-on-year, the same pace of expansion as seen in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. The annual growth was forecast to slow to 6.8 percent.

Energy stocks should maintain last week's modest gains. WTI light sweet crude oil was up 8 cents at $46.55 a barrel, staying well away from June's yearly lows near $42.

Gold was up $6 at $1233 an ounce, moving further from recent 4-month lows near $1200.

Canada-based mining company Dominion Diamond Corp. (DDC, DDC.TO) will be acquired by Washington Companies for $14.25 per share in cash, or a total equity value of about $1.2 billion.

Washington plans to operate Dominion as a standalone business, appoint a new CEO based in Canada to the Dominion management team, and keep Dominion's headquarters in Canada.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX, VRX.TO) will sell its Obagi Medical Products business for $190 million in cash to Haitong International Zhonghua Finance Acquisition Fund.

The financial sector will keep an eye on earnings from key U.S. companies this week. BlackRock Inc, the world's biggest asset manager, reported a better-than-forecast quarterly profit on Monday, helped by higher fees.

In economic news, foreign investment in Canadian securities amounted to $29.5 billion in May, mainly purchases of government debt instruments. At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $4.4 billion, Stats Canada said.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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