CANADA STOCKS-TSX falters as Fed backs off stimulus talk

Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:43pm EDT
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   * TSX drops 0.54 percent to 13,252.92
 * Seven index sectors fall, resources drop the most
 * Bernanke says Fed not ready to act yet
 (Adds details, background)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, July 14 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed lower on Thursday with resource shares taking the
biggest hit after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
backed away from signaling that he was set to ease monetary
 Investors took cheer on Wednesday from Bernanke's
suggestion that the Fed was ready to inject more money into the
U.S. economy if the situation was dire enough to warrant it. He
stood by that assertion on Thursday, but added that the time
had not yet come to do so, which deflated market hopes.
 "The market basically took it negatively," said Sid
Mokhtari, market technician and director, institutional equity
research, CIBC World Markets. Mokhtari added that the U.S. debt
ceiling impasse and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were also
weighing on sentiment.
 Investors were also on edge after Moody's put the United
States' Aaa credit rating under review late on Wednesday, while
monitoring developments between the congressional Republicans
and the White House over raising the statutory borrowing
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 72.02 points, or 0.54 percent, at
13,252.92. Seven of its 10 main sectors fell.
 Chief decliners were in the influential energy and
materials groups, down 0.56 percent, and 0.89 percent,
respectively. Commodity prices turned lower after Bernanke's
comments, and gold-miners were unable to hold gains despite a
record price hit by gold at $1,594.16.
 Suncor Energy SU.TO fell 1.23 percent to C$37.60, while
Barrick Gold ABX.TO dropped 1.3 percent to C$46.01. Teck
Resources TCKb.TO fell 2.07 percent to C$48.70, and Talisman
Energy TLM.TO shed 2.11 percent to C$18.05.
 Analysts said it was still too early to definitively
characterize the second-quarter earnings season. A few key U.S.
bellwethers have reported, and Thursday's stronger results from
JPMorgan Chase JPM.N helped early investor sentiment.
 A few Canadian corporations in the oil and media sectors
reported earnings that were some of the bright spots in an
overall declining market. The results calendar ramps up in a
couple of weeks.
 "Generally, across the board, it should be a strong quarter
for the Canadian equity market for earnings," said Paul Taylor,
chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management.
 Two of Canada's biggest media companies, Corus
Entertainment CJRb.TO and Astral Media ACMa.TO, posted
higher quarterly profits on Thursday, benefiting from strong
growth in television subscribers and advertising.
 Corus rose 1.69 percent to finish at C$21, but Astral fell
0.42 percent to C$37.69.
 Nexen Inc NXY.TO gained 3.4 percent to C$21.89 after
results topped estimates. The independent oil explorer also
said it was ramping up drilling at its Long Lake oil sands
project in northern Alberta in an effort to use the struggling
operation's processing plant more fully. [ID:nL3E7IE1U9]
 Mokhtari said the index's pullback now should not be a
surprise after the Toronto market's strong run through the end
of June.
 "Volume readings are not that significant on down days in
Canada or the U.S. I would say it's more of profit-taking, more
of what you would call backing and filling. For the time being
I wouldn't read too much into it."
 ($1=$0.96 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)