BlackBerry drop, Fed fears take TSX lower

Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:55pm EDT
 
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slumped on Friday as shares of BlackBerry (BB.TO: Quote) tumbled after it warned of job cuts and a huge quarterly loss, and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy strategy weighed on sentiment.

BlackBerry dropped 16.1 percent to C$9.08, and the announcement is expected to put more pressure on the embattled smartphone maker to find a buyer.

A cloud of doubt hovered over a market trying to make sense of different messages from the Fed about its massive bond-buying program.

While the market at first blush cheered the U.S. central bank's move on Wednesday to leave its stimulus program in place by maintaining its $85 billion a month in bond buying, investors have tried to analyze the implications and look for clues about when the eventual scaling-back of its bond buying could happen.

The Fed could still begin unwinding the program at its October meeting if data showed the economy was getting stronger, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said.

Gold-mining shares were hit by weakness in the price of bullion, which remained volatile after the Fed's statement.

"Certainly the water is quite muddy at the moment," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management, adding investors were very confused about the Fed's next steps.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 120.31 points, or 0.93 percent, at 12,806.47.   Continued...

 
A sign shows TSX information in Toronto September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch