(Adds details on specific stocks, updates prices)
* TSX down 31.57 points, or 0.21 percent, at 15,354.39
* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups move lower
* Decliners stocks barely outnumber advancers overall
TORONTO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index slipped on Wednesday as nuclear producer Cameco Corp sunk on news of a scrapped contract and gold miners pulled back ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision.
The move extended a retreat that saw the index notch its lowest close this year on Tuesday, although gains for insurers helped offset the decline.
Cameco fell 11.4 percent to C$14.68 after Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, scrapped a uranium supply contract worth about C$1.3 billion.
At 10:44 a.m. ET (1544 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 31.57 points, or 0.21 percent, at 15,354.39.
While nine of its 10 main sectors were lower, decliners were only outnumbering advancers by a 1.3-to-1 ratio overall.
Goldcorp Inc fell 1.2 percent to C$20.78 and Kinross Gold Corp declined 2 percent to C$4.97 as gold retreated ahead of the Fed’s statement, due at 2 p.m. ET.
The U.S. central bank is expected to hold rates steady while signaling it still plans a number of hikes this year.
Higher rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as gold, while the resulting rise in bond yields reduce the value of insurance companies’ liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.
The most influential gainers on the Toronto index included some of its biggest insurers, with Manulife Financial Corp up 1.1 percent to C$25.22.
The energy group slipped 0.2 percent after a strong start to the session, as a report showing a large rise in U.S. crude inventories curbed oil price gains on signs that Russia and OPEC producers are delivering on promised supply reductions.
Enerplus Corp rose 3.5 percent to C$12, adding to Tuesday’s gains after announcing an increase to its capital budget for 2017.
BCE Inc slipped 0.5 percent to C$58.39. The telecom company’s Bell Media unit said on Tuesday it is reducing its radio and television industry workforce in more than two dozen locations across the country by an unspecified number.
U.S. crude prices were up 0.7 percent to $53.18 a barrel, while Brent added 0.9 percent to $56.08.
Gold futures fell 0.9 percent to $1,198.1 an ounce, while copper prices slipped 0.5 percent to $5,962 a tonne.
The Canadian manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in over two years in January as new orders and production volumes picked up, data showed on Wednesday.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski
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