TSX steady as market awaits Fed outcome

Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:09pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting that could determine the future of the U.S. central bank's bond buying program.

Weakness in commodity prices, which kept energy and gold-mining shares down, helped offset gains in the consumer discretionary and information technology sectors.

Fed officials began a two-day meeting to discuss the state of the world's biggest economy and determine whether it is strong enough to warrant the rollback in monetary stimulus.

"Investors are taking a wait-and-see approach until we see the results of the Fed meeting tomorrow," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson GMP.

Investors are concerned about a market pullback in the event of a stimulus rollback by the Fed, he added.

A trimming in the U.S. central bank's asset purchases is expected to weigh on interest-rate sensitive sectors such as insurers, REITs and utilities.

The Toronto equities market has recovered in part from a sharp selloff last week when a stream of upbeat U.S. economic data suggested that the Fed might have more reasons to begin paring its bond purchases.

"It's a coin toss. Nobody really knows what's going to come out of the Fed meeting," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "It's one of those things that could really go either way."   Continued...

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch