CANADA STOCKS-TSX stumbles as Fed uncertainty weighs
By John Tilak TORONTO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index declined on Friday, with gains in the financial and energy sectors offset by weakness in gold-mining shares, as investors tried to make sense of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy strategy. While the market at first blush cheered the U.S. central bank's move on Wednesday to leave its stimulus program in place, investors have since 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 an October meeting if data showed the economy was getting stronger, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said. Gold-mining shares were hit by a drop in the price of bullion, which remained volatile after the Fed's statement. "The market is confused," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "The majority of the market had factored in tapering and higher interest rates," he added. "They now find that that's not going to happen." He said the Canadian market may struggle to find momentum this year because of the uncertainty surrounding the stimulus program. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 31.36 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,895.45. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped 1.4 percent. All of the top 10 decliners on the Toronto market were material stocks. Gold producers lost 2.6 percent as bullion stumbled. Barrick Gold Corp declined 2.6 percent to C$19.42, and Goldcorp Inc shed 1.8 percent to C$27.51, playing the biggest role of any two stocks in leading the market lower. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender, advanced 0.4 percent to C$66.45; Toronto Dominion Bank rose 0.4 percent to C$91.41. Shares of energy companies gained 0.3 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 0.6 percent to C$32.73, and Suncor Energy Inc added 0.2 percent to C$37.20.
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