* TSX slips 0.08 percent to 12,609.07; up 0.6 pct on week
* Weak resources outweigh 7 advancing sectors
* Bernanke offers few new details on U.S. stimulus steps (Adds details)
TORONTO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished lower for a second straight session on Friday as modest gains across most sectors were not enough to offset the drag from investors cutting gold positions.
The index was volatile in early action as market players digested a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, which offered few new details on further economic stimulus. [ID:nN15187998]
But the volatility washed away in end-of-session trading with the index holding near the unchanged mark into the close as market players reset ahead of the onslaught of earnings expected in the next several weeks.
“We rarely have the market take off on a Friday and this is pretty typical,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management in Waterloo, Ontario.
“We’re at the beginning of the earnings season and so the market needs to get some sort of a gauge as to whether equities are fairly valued, under- or overvalued here. There’s been a very strong market performance.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished down 10.62 points, or 0.08 percent, at 12,609.07, but notched a weekly gain of 0.6 percent. It was the index’s fourth straight weekly gain.
Seven of the TSX’s 10 main sectors were higher, but the materials group, home to gold miners, lost 0.7 percent. Energy was also 0.2 percent lower.
Gold miners fell on a retreating bullion price while Potash Corp POT.TO dropped on a report that China’s Sinochem would not make a takeover bid for the company. [ID:nN22340110]
The gold subsector skidded 0.66 percent after the price of the precious metal snapped its two-day record-setting rally, as the U.S. dollar rebounded following Bernanke’s speech. He said that high U.S. unemployment and low inflation point to a need for further economic stimulus.
“It looks like a lot of the fears of a very aggressive Fed turned into a little bit more of a cautious tone from Mr. Bernanke,” said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management in Vancouver.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s No. 1 producer, was down 1.14 percent at C$48.53, while Goldcorp fell 0.82 percent to C$44.99. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) shed 2.48 percent to C$11.42. [GOL/]
Potash Corp fell nearly 1 percent to C$146.78 after sources told Reuters that Sinochem had abandoned efforts to counter BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) $39 billion bid. [ID:nLDE69E01U]
A handful of U.S. earnings this week mostly buoyed market sentiment about other results to come, though worries about the U.S. foreclosure crisis weighed.
A pickup in Canada’s earnings begins next week and the TSX may tread softly until investors have a better gauge of profitability and company outlook.
“I would say we’re in a digestion phase here where the market probably is more likely to trend sideways, and try to hang on and consolidate some of this sharp move up that we’ve seen,” said Chandler.
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)