CANADA STOCKS-Fed, emerging-market worries drag TSX lower
* TSX falls 73.16 points, or 0.53 percent, to 13,614.50 * Seven of the 10 main index sectors decline * Scotiabank the biggest negative influence on index * CP Rail climbs after reporting results By John Tilak TORONTO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dropped on Wednesday, led by declines in financial and energy shares, as market sentiment was hit by concerns about the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program and worries about emerging-market economies. The Fed is set to announce later in the day whether it will scale back its bond-buying program as the world's biggest economy starts to look healthier. It is expected to taper its stimulus even though its decision may be overshadowed by slowing economic growth and increasing credit risk in China and perceptions of instability in emerging markets. Doubts about China, coupled with extreme volatility in the Argentine peso and the Turkish lira, have raised questions about the risks involved with investing in emerging markets. The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, with its high concentration of resource shares, has lost about 2.7 percent in the last week. "The bigger issue for us is the emerging market chaos. It's knocking the stuffing out of positive sentiment," said Bill Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. "Stocks are going to come off because the market is nervous." "The Fed is still trying to play its hand from information from a year ago, and now the world is changing dramatically," he added. Harris sees market weakness as an opportunity to pounce on cheaper Canadian commodity stocks. The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was down 73.16 points, or 0.53 percent, at 13,614.50. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, fell 0.8 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia dropped 1.3 percent to C$61.09 and had the biggest negative influence on the market. The lender has a significant exposure to emerging markets, with operations in Latin America and Asia. Royal Bank of Canada said it will sell its Jamaican banking operations to Sagicor Group Jamaica Ltd. RBC shares slipped 1 percent to C$68.84. Shares of energy companies gave back 1.1 percent, weighed by lower oil prices. Suncor Energy Inc shed 1.6 percent to C$36.12, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd slipped 1.5 percent to C$35.74. Gold-mining shares jumped 1.7 percent, reflecting gains in the price of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp climbed 3.1 percent to C$21.61. In other corporate news, Canadian Pacific Railway reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, but it forecast adjusted earnings would climb at least 30 percent in 2014 on stronger revenue. The stock advanced 3 percent to C$162.92.
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