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Canada Stocks Decline as China Offsets U.S. Economic Data

Canadian stocks fell as a slump in Chinese non-manufacturing industrial growth offset better-than-estimated reports on U.S. employment and services industries.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. retreated 2.1 percent after Scotia Capital Markets cut its rating on the company amid a weaker potash outlook. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Cenovus Energy Inc. slipped at least 2 percent. Crude fell below $90 as a report showed U.S. crude output climbed to the highest level in more than 15 years and fuel consumption decreased.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 31.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,359.47 in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge has advanced 0.3 percent this week.

“People have been hoping for and expecting a soft landing in China, but the most recent set of data suggests we may be looking at a harder landing,” said Laura Wallace, vice president and fund manager for Scotia Private Client Group, said on the phone from Toronto. The group manages about C$10 billion ($10 billion). “We’re in a no-man’s land where the data isn’t totally weak but isn’t totally strong either, except for Europe which looks like they will be in recession.”

Stocks retreated across Europe and Asia as China’s non-manufacturing industries expanded at the weakest pace since at least March 2011. The purchasing managers’ index fell to 53.7 in September from 56.3 in August. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Jobs Data

ADP Employer Services said U.S. companies added 162,000 jobs last month, topping the median forecast of 38 economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a 140,000 advance. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index climbed to a six-month high of 55.1, exceeding the most optimistic projection in a Bloomberg survey, from 53.7 in August, figures from the Tempe, Arizona-based group showed today.

Canadian Natural Resources fell 2.9 percent to C$30.28 and Cenovus Energy slipped 2 percent to C$34.53. Crude for November delivery tumbled 4.1 percent to $88.14 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Aug. 2, after the U.S. Energy Department said crude output rose 11,000 barrels a day to 6.52 million last week, the most since December 1996. Total fuel demand fell 0.3 percent to 18.3 million barrels a day in the four weeks ended Sept. 28, the lowest level since April.

Potash Corp., the world’s largest fertilizer producer, slumped 2.1 percent to C$41.07 after Ben Isaacson, analyst with Scotia Capital Markets, downgraded the stock to sector perform from sector outperform.

Earnings Expectations

“The Street needs to bring numbers down substantially,” Isaacson said in a note today arguing that earnings expectations for the industry are too high.

Quebecor Inc. lost 1.3 percent to C$33 after agreeing to pay C$1.5 billion to the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, the country’s second-biggest pension fund manager, to increase its controlling stake in a newspaper and cable television unit. Quebecor will hold a 75.4 percent stake in Quebecor Media Inc. after the transaction.

Pierre Karl Peladeau, chief executive officer of Quebecor, said in a statement the company is “taking advantage” of a favorable debt market.

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