CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as Fed expected to stick with stimulus
* TSX up 6.4 points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,447.01 * Gold miners lead gainers, banks help By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose slightly on Wednesday, with gold miners marking up strong gains as investors bet the U.S. Federal Reserve will decide to stick with its monetary stimulus program for a while longer. The index has jumped sharply in recent weeks and is now trading at two-year highs. In addition to miners, banking stocks have been a solid contributor to the rise, helped by the Bank of Canada's move to drop its explicit rate-hike bias last week. With the notion of continued loose monetary policy in Canada and the United States, and signs of renewed growth in the Chinese economy, investors seem confident that the resource-rich Canadian index can add further gains. "If you are going to be somewhere in the developed markets, Canada looks to be a pretty good place to be if the Fed continues to be liberal with its money," said Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp. "It is the one that has lagged, and it has lagged because of gold and materials and energy because people have been worried about China," Graham said of the Canadian index. The Fed is expected to maintain its massive bond-buying campaign when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday and it may point to softer readings on the U.S. economy to signal that the policy will be extended into 2014. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 6.4 points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,447.01 by midmorning. It is at levels last seen in July 2011. Uranium miner Cameco Corp jumped 5.3 percent to C$20 after reporting a sharp jump in profit on higher prices and sales. Barrick Gold Corp gained 1.6 percent to C$21.03 and Goldcorp Inc added 1.5 percent to C$27.88. The price of gold extended gains on Wednesday after weak U.S. jobs data supported the view that the Fed will keep its stimulus program intact. Yamana Gold Inc jumped 4.5 percent to C$10.68 despite reporting a sharp dip in profit, as the company stuck to its outlook as said it was focused on cutting costs. Canadian National Railway Co slipped 0.5 percent to C$114.48 as it continues union negotiations to avoid a labor disruption.
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