CANADA STOCKS-TSX cuts loss as gold rebounds, Fed comforts

Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:46pm EDT
 
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 *TSX rebounds from 1-week low
 * Ends down 0.12 pct at 13,892.57, 7 sectors fall
 * Fed signals no rush to scale back US economic support
 * Market cautious about idea of strong NDP showing
 (Adds details)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, April 27 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed lower on Wednesday but cut most of its early-session
losses, comforted by a bounce-back in gold-mining issues and
signals from the Federal Reserve that it would maintain its
support for the U.S. economy.
 The index took its cue from Wall Street and oil prices,
both of which nudged higher after the Fed said in a statement
that it believed the economic recovery was proceeding at a
moderate pace, with little risk that an inflationary psychology
would take hold. Gold also rose to a record high of almost
$1,530 an ounce and silver jumped 6 percent. [ID:nN26291565]
 After a two-day meeting, the policy-setting Federal Open
Market Committee said it intends to complete its $600 billion
bond-buying program in June as scheduled.
 Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's first-ever press conference
resulted in no serious wavering in optimism, while earnings
reports in both Canada and the United States impressed
investors.
 "I think some of the news that we saw today implies the
market is going to continue to grow moderately," said Pat
McHugh, senior portfolio manager and equity strategist at
Manulife Asset Management. "If anything, I think consensus
opinion is that the pace of economic growth is going to slow as
we proceed through 2011 and that nothing we see today really
changes any of that."
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished just 16.53 points lower, or 0.12 percent,
at 13,892.57, rebounding strongly after falling nearly 1
percent to 13,770.81, its lowest point in a week. Seven of the
TSX's 10 sectors ended lower.
 The materials group ended up 0.61 percent, and its
gold-mining subgroup finished 1.66 percent higher after
seesawing through the session.
 Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO had been a top decliner after
announcing on Monday a friendly C$7.3 billion deal to buy
copper miner Equinox Minerals EQN.TO, but finished up 1.24
percent at C$48.34. It reported a 22 percent increase in
quarterly profit on Wednesday, driven largely by the surge in
bullion prices. [ID:nN27110953]
 Other gold producers were also up, with Kinross K.TO up
2.8 percent at C$14.90 while Eldorado Gold ELD.TO added 2.87
percent to C$17.20.
 More corporate earnings also trickled in, including Husky
Energy Inc HSE.TO, which reported a 70 percent jump in
first-quarter profit, sending its shares up 0.77 percent to
C$28.71.
 ELECTION WATCH
 The rising popularity of the New Democratic Party in the
lead-up to Canada's May 2 election was cited as one reason for
early weakness on the overall index.
 The increasing support for a left-leaning party that plans
to raise corporate taxes, spend more and redo energy policy
could cause some further short-term weakness in Toronto's main
stock index, analysts said. [ID:nN27126329]
 "The Conservatives may get a majority on election day but
right now it looks like another minority Conservative
government ... Nobody wants another election, we've had so
many, so that's the discouraging part of it," said John Kinsey,
portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
 But corporate results are likely to trump any short-term
weakness drawn from federal election betting, said McHugh,
noting that Toronto's main index has lagged its U.S. peers in
recent sessions because its earnings season has not run as deep
yet. U.S. earnings have had a positive effect on U.S. indexes.
 "I see no reason why things should be different in Canada.
We should be experiencing as well good earnings results and the
market will focus on that," he said. "So the market isn't, in
my mind, going to pay a lot of attention to the fact that the
NDP are in second place."
 ($1=$0.95 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob
Wilson)