CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as drop in golds offsets energy gains

Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:27pm EST
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* TSX falls 12.76 points, or 0.09 percent, to 13,430.01
    * Five of the 10 main index sectors decline
    * Gold-mining shares drop 3.7 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped on Wednesday after comments from the U.S. Federal
Reserve suggesting a rollback of its monetary stimulus program
in the next few months fueled a bullion selloff, which weighed
on gold-mining stocks.
    Bullion prices hit a four-month low, sending gold miners
down about 4 percent to their lowest level in more than a month,
which offset gains in the index's energy sector. 
    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke assured markets in a speech on
Tuesday that the Fed will maintain its ultra-easy monetary
policy for as long as required. But in minutes from the Fed's
October meeting released on Wednesday, Fed officials indicated
they could decide to start scaling back the program at one of
the central bank's next few meetings, provided economic growth
supports the move. 
    Investors also combed through data that showed U.S. consumer
spending topping market expectations in October but inflation
remaining subdued. 
    "The Fed is very cautious about derailing any economic
recovery that we're having," said Luciano Orengo, a portfolio
manager at Manulife Asset Management, who added that recent
economic data has been painting a mixed picture.
    "Given that third-quarter earnings are pretty much out of
the way, investors are looking closely at macroeconomic data
coming out."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 12.76 points, or 0.09 percent, at
    After a sluggish start to the year, the benchmark Canadian
index has rebounded, though its gains don't match those of U.S.
    A near-term correction could be on the horizon, Orengo said,
but U.S. stocks are likely more vulnerable than the Canadian
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, dropped
2.2 percent, hurt by the fall in gold producers. Goldcorp Inc
 was down 3.2 percent at C$24.51, and Barrick Gold Corp
 shed 3.9 percent to C$17.94.
    Shares of financial companies climbed slightly, with
Toronto-Dominion Bank adding 0.3 percent to C$97.86. 
    Energy shares advanced 0.7 percent, benefiting from a gain
in the price of Brent crude oil. Suncor Energy Inc rose
1.4 percent to C$37.85.