CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs after Putin comments; focus on Fed
* TSX rises 57.46 points, or 0.40 percent, to 14,289.35 * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance * CN Rail, CP Rail are market's most influential gainers By John Tilak TORONTO, March 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin helped calm the market's fears about tensions in the region and investors eyed a Federal Reserve policy meeting for monetary policy direction. But a decline in gold-mining shares, which rallied in recent weeks with the price of bullion as concerns about Ukraine escalated, limited the broader market's gains. Investors were also looking for signs of where the Fed's stimulus program might be headed as the central bank began a two-day policy meeting. Putin signed a treaty to make Crimea part of Russia but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine. "Russia is obviously the main focus. Whether or not Crimea was just the first step in Russia moving further into Ukraine was the (market's) biggest worry," said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth. "In a strange way, the markets have rallied even though sanctions are coming," he added. "Even though it's not the best situation, the market is saying that it could've been worse." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 57.46 points, or 0.40 percent, at 14,289.35. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.4 percent. Manulife Financial Corp climbed 1.1 percent to C$21.06, and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.6 percent to C$64.83. Industrial shares jumped 1 percent, helped by gains in the country's two biggest rail operators. Canadian National Railway Co advanced 1.3 percent to C$63.45, and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd gained 2 percent to C$174.50. The two stocks had the biggest positive influence on the market. Shares of gold producers gave back 1.4 percent, reflecting a similar fall in the price of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp dropped 2.2 percent to C$22.12. "Gold is down because the fear factor from Russia dropped a notch," Small said.
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