TORONTO — The Toronto stock market headed for a flat open Friday amid little in the way of economic and corporate news.The Canadian dollar continued to slide, down another 0.36 of a cent to 94.73 cents US. The loonie has tumbled about two U.S. cents this past week as the U.S. currency rose against other currencies amid growing conviction that the U.S. Federal Reserve will move this year to cut back on its monetary stimulus.The Fed has been buying US$85 billion of bonds every month to keep rates low and encourge investment. There is still a great deal of doubt about when the Fed might embark on tapering its asset purchases and the pace of such a cutback.U.S. futures were little changed ahead of data on new home sales coming out mid-morning. The Dow Jones industrial futures were five points lower to 14.934, the Nasdaq futures rose 2.2 points to 3,104 while the S&P 500 futures were unchanged at 1,654.75.Economists expect July home sales to slip 1.4% from June to an annualized rate of 490,000. But June new home sales surged by over eight%.There seemed little enthusiasm to build on a solid gain on North American markets Thursday after data from HSBC Corp. showed an expansion in China’s manufacturing in August. Traders took that as evidence that the world’s second-largest economy may be over its recent weakness. HSBC’s preliminary purchasing managers index rose to 50.1 from July’s 47.7, crossing the critical 50 threshold to indicate an expansion in activity.Meanwhile, the monthly composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services, for the 17-country eurozone rose to 51.7 in August from 50.4. The index, published by financial information company Markit, is now at its highest level since June 2011 and provides further evidence that the eurozone recovery from recession is gathering pace.Traders were also encouraged by other data showing gains in the eurozone’s monthly composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services which provided further evidence that the region’s recovery from recession is gathering momentum.Speculation about what the Fed may do about its asset purchases continued to drive bond yields higher with the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury up 0.02 of a point from late Thursday afternoon to 2.92%.Bond yields are up about 120 basis points since Fed chairman Ben Bernanke first mentioned the possibility of the Fed tapering its bond purchases in May.Those rising bond yields have particularly impacted interest sensitive stocks including utilities and telecoms. The utilities sector is down almost 3% this week alone and more than 8% this month. Telecoms have also retreated, down about 1.75% this week although the sector has also been pressured recently by the prospect of American telco giant Verizon entering the Canadian wireless market.U.S. markets have also softened this month following a strong runup that saw the Dow up as much as 20% year to date at the beginning of August.European bourses were mixed and London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.45%, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.16% while the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.12%.Asian stocks rebounded Friday on encouraging economic data from China and Europe.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.2%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.9%, South Korea’s Kospi added 1.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed early gains to close 0.2% down.

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