CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls ahead of Fed, gold miners lead decline

Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:04am EDT
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* TSX down 32.60 points, or 0.25 percent, at 12,801.51

* Investors await Fed statement this afternoon

* Gold miners weigh as price of bullion hits 6-wk low

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was slightly lower on Wednesday, with investors unwilling to make big bets ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve announcement later in the day on whether it will start scaling back its stimulus program.

Gold miners were among the heaviest weights as the price of gold fell, while major banks also fell. BlackBerry Ltd jumped after launching a new smartphone, but later pared gains.

"Everyone is waiting for the Fed," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "I don't really expect anything to happen before they make their announcement."

The U.S. central bank was expected to take its first tentative steps to wean the global economy off super-easy money by cutting down on its $85 billion in monthly asset purchases. It was set to announce its plans at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).

Kinsey said commodity stocks, which make up roughly 38 percent of the Toronto stock market's benchmark index, could take a hit if the Fed reduces its purchases significantly more than investors expect.   Continued...