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Canadian Stocks Are Dipping At The Start Of The Week - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is down slightly in early trade Monday. Traders are in a cautious mood at the start of the new trading week. The continued partial government shutdown in the U.S., as well as the U.S./China trade talks have put investors on edge.

The European markets began Monday's session with modest gains, following the positive performance in Asia. However, the markets quickly began to pare their gains and the majority are now trading in negative territory.

Markets on Wall Street are struggling to find direction at the start of the new trading week. Traders appear reluctant to make significant moves as they keep a close eye on high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 32.32 points or 0.22 percent at 14,394.30.

On Friday, the index closed up by 213.87 points or 1.50 percent, at 14,426.62. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,438.60 and a low of 14,314.79.

The Energy Index is falling 0.62 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is weakening 1.13 percent and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is declining 1.76 percent. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is down 2.11 percent.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is losing 0.56 percent. The company announced that it expects a 13% increase in total upstream production in the fourth quarter thanks to higher output from its majority-owned Syncrude oil project in northern Alberta.

The Gold Index is decreasing 0.48 percent. B2Gold (BTO.TO) is falling 0.77 percent and Goldcorp (G.TO) is weakening 0.62 percent. Kinross Gold (K.TO) is surrendering 1.03 percent and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is forfeiting 0.63 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is down 0.43 percent. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is falling 0.17 percent and Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is losing 0.66 percent. Nutrien (NTR.TO) is declining 0.43 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is decreasing 0.55 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is weakening 1.30 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is down 0.78 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is declining 0.12 percent and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is lower by 0.06 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is losing 0.68 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is down 0.34 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is losing 0.02 percent and Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is falling 0.33 percent. BCE (BCE.TO) is lower by 0.28 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.31 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is climbing 0.68 percent and BlackBerry (BB.TO) is advancing 0.72 percent. Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is adding 1.17 percent.

On the economic front, Eurozone retail sales grew for a second straight month in November and at a faster-than-expected pace, supported by lower oil prices and rising wages.

Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent from October, when sales increased at the same pace, figures from Eurostat showed Monday. October sales growth was earlier reported as 0.3 percent. Economists had forecast 0.2 percent growth.

Eurozone's investor confidence deteriorated for a fifth straight month in January to its lowest level in over four years, but the easing was less severe than expected, survey data from the behavioral research institute Sentix showed on Monday.

The Sentix investor confidence index dropped to -1.5 from -0.3, marking the lowest level since December 2014. Economists had forecast a score of -2 for January.

Germany's manufacturing new orders decreased for the first time in four months in November and the fall was worse than expected, preliminary data from Destatis showed on Monday.

Factory orders decreased a calendar and seasonally adjusted 1 percent from October, when they grew 0.2 percent, revised from 0.3 percent reported earlier. Economists had forecast a modest decline of 0.1 percent.

Germany's retail sales grew at the fastest pace in seven months in November, exceeding economists' expectations, preliminary data from Destatis showed on Monday.

Retail sales rose a calendar and seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent from October, when they edged up 0.1 percent, revised from a 0.3 percent fall. Economists had expected a 0.4 percent increase.

Germany's construction sector expanded at the fastest pace in seven months in December, led by strong growth in housing activity.

The German Construction Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 53.3 from November's 51.3, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

A report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday showed growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of December. The ISM said its non-manufacturing index dropped to 57.6 in December after inching up to 60.7 in November.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January delivery are up 1.28 or 2.67 percent at $49.24 a barrel.

Natural gas for January is down 0.087 or 2.86 percent at $2.957 per million btu.

Gold futures for February are up 6.60 or 0.51 percent at $1,292.40 an ounce.

Silver for January is down 0.001 or 0.01 percent at $15.785 an ounce.

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