CANADA STOCKS-BMO, Fed fears hold TSX back while golds surge
* TSX falls 17.91 points, or 0.14 percent, to 12,732.61 * Seven of 10 main sectors decline * BMO slips after profit miss * Gold shares soar after bullion price jump By John Tilak TORONTO, May 29 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index slipped on Wednesday as Bank of Montreal shares declined after its quarterly profit missed estimates, while worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve may end its economic stimulus program overshadowed a jump in gold producer shares. The Toronto market, which has not shared the strong rallies recorded by U.S. stock indexes this year, joined global markets in pulling back, easing after three sessions of gains. However, a higher bullion price, fueled by a weaker U.S. dollar, led to gains in shares of gold producers and kept losses in check. Recent positive economic data renewed concerns that the Fed might end its massive bond-buying program sooner than expected. "It has been well telegraphed for some time that it's going to be withdrawn, but I don't think it's going to be anytime soon," said John Stephenson, senior vice president at First Asset Investment Management. "It's a 2014 story, certainly more than six months away," he added. "It's something that will definitely slow the market." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 17.91 points, or 0.14 percent, at 12,732.61. "Investors perhaps thought, 'Let's not worry about that. It's tomorrow's problem'," said Philip Petursson, managing director, portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset Management. "All of a sudden tomorrow's problem becomes today's problem." "The market is attractively valued and companies are in a good enough position that the Fed can ease their quantitative easing program probably in about 18 months," he said. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave back 0.1 percent. BMO was down 1.9 percent at C$62.50 after the lender's quarterly net profit fell 5 percent due to restructuring costs and lower net interest margins in its Canadian business. The stock declined the most of the country's six largest banks and was one of the biggest negative influences on the market. BMO's results follow profit misses by Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto Dominion Bank. "The pattern is that the analysts were a little bit more optimistic on the environment and the banks' ability to manage in the current environment," Petursson said. Manulife Asset Management owns BMO shares. "The reality is that the banks are going to be challenged, along with the economy," he added. Energy shares fell 0.2 percent as oil prices traded lower. Pipeline company Enbridge Inc lost 4 percent to C$45.93. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, climbed 2.2 percent, thanks to a 3.7 percent rise in gold shares. Goldcorp Inc climbed 4.1 percent to C$28.70, and Barrick Gold Corp added 4.4 percent to C$20.53.
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