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Commodity stocks weigh on TSX; Ritchie Brothers rise

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange stock information is seen in Toronto

By Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index was muted on Monday, with materials and energy stocks weighing on the commodity-heavy bourse after top-consumer China set a modest growth target for the year, while gains in Ritchie Brothers limited the declines.

Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers Inc's shares rose 3.1% as two leading proxy advisory firms recommended that shareholders vote against the asset management firm's planned takeover of U.S. auto retailer IAA Inc. IAA fell 8.5% in U.S. trading.

At 10:12 a.m. ET (15:12 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 20.46 points, or 0.08%, at 20,602.04.

The energy sector and miners fell 0.9% each, tracking declines in commodity prices after China over the weekend set a lower-than-expected gross domestic product target of 5%. Policy sources had recently told Reuters a range as high as 6% could be set. [O/R] [MET/L] [GOL/]

"The commodity stocks are weighing on the index because China is forecasting growth for the upcoming year not as high or as we would have anticipated," said Allan Small, senior investment advisor at Allan Small Financial Group.

"So that's a lot of negative for world growth when you have the second largest economy saying that they're not going to be growing as much as perhaps people thought."

In the previous weekly session, the TSX logged its best performance in seven weeks as investors weighed the possibility that the Bank of Canada would hit pause on its fastest monetary tightening spree in the upcoming central bank meet on Wednesday.

However, fears of a stalling economy and further rate hikes out of the United States still loomed, capping a full recovery of markets from last year's losses.

Secure Energy Services Inc slumped 18.7% to its two-month low after it said it would appeal the competition tribunal's decision on its merger with Tervita Corp.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)