September 20, 2013 / 8:55 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-BlackBerry drop, Fed fears take TSX lower

* TSX falls 120.31 points, or 0.93 percent, to 12,806.47
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
    * BlackBerry tumbles 16 percent
    * Barrick, Goldcorp have biggest negative influence on

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slumped on Friday as shares of BlackBerry tumbled after
it warned of job cuts and a huge quarterly loss, and uncertainty
surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy strategy
weighed on sentiment.
    BlackBerry dropped 16.1 percent to C$9.08, and the
announcement is expected to put more pressure on the embattled
smartphone maker to find a buyer. 
    A cloud of doubt hovered over a market trying to make sense
of different messages from the Fed about its massive bond-buying
    While the market at first blush cheered the U.S. central
bank's move on Wednesday to leave its stimulus program in place
by maintaining its $85 billion a month in bond buying, investors
have tried to analyze the implications and look for clues about
when the eventual scaling-back of its bond buying could happen.
    The Fed could still begin unwinding the program at its
October meeting if data showed the economy was getting stronger,
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said. 
    Gold-mining shares were hit by weakness in the price of
bullion, which remained volatile after the Fed's statement.
    "Certainly the water is quite muddy at the moment," said
David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at
Northland Wealth Management, adding investors were very confused
about the Fed's next steps. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 120.31 points, or 0.93 percent, at
    "I'm not betting the farm on the Canadian market taking
off," Cockfield said. "There are some huge headwinds."
    He said sentiment for Canadian equities was beaten down,
with investors finding U.S. stocks more attractive.
    Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped
3.6 percent. Gold producers lost 5.5 percent as bullion
    Barrick Gold Corp declined 4.2 percent to C$19.11,
and Goldcorp Inc shed 3.8 percent to C$26.96, playing the
biggest role of any two stocks in leading the market lower.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave
back 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's
biggest lender, slipped 0.4 percent to C$65.96; Bank of Nova
Scotia fell 0.7 percent to C$59.21.
    Shares of energy companies lost 0.4 percent.
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was down 0.4 percent
at C$32.40, and Suncor Energy Inc stumbled 0.6 percent
to C$36.89.
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