* TSX down 66.04 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,272.29
* Gold miners plunge nearly 4 percent, banks up 0.6 percent (Updates to afternoon)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index extended losses on Wednesday as tumbling gold prices and uncertainty about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech on Friday outweighed optimism over bank earnings and positive U.S. data.
Gold miners dropped 3.7 percent, holding back broad gains by financials, as the price of bullion dropped 3 percent, heading for its biggest two-day decline in almost three years. [GOL/]
Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) fell nearly 5 percent to C$48.27, while Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) was down 3.8 percent at C$48.18.
“It’s just selling, selling, selling ... it’s all driven by price, it’s all driven by emotion,” said John Kurgan, senior market strategist at MF Global Canada. “We shifted from greed to fear in matter of 48 hours.”
At 2:00 p.m. (1800 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 66.04 points, or 0.54 percent, at 12,272.29. Six of the 10 main groups were weaker. Profit-taking after Tuesday’s rally of more than 2 percent was hurting the index in general.
Financials were the most influential gainers, rising 0.6 percent on surprisingly strong Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) earnings on Tuesday. It was the first in a wave of bank earnings reports over the next two weeks.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) rose 1.1 percent to C$50.60, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) added 1 percent to C$74.03, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) advanced 0.5 percent to C$51.71.
On the U.S. front, new orders for long-lasting manufactured goods surged in July and the Congressional Budget Office offered an upbeat forecast on the worrisome budget deficits. [ID:nN1E77N096] [ID:nN1E77N0JA]
The data added further doubts to speculation that Bernanke would announce new stimulus for the U.S. economy at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference. That speculation had helped fuel Tuesday’s rally.
Bernanke is most likely to outline gradualist measures, which would disappoint investors looking for a “big bang” approach, such as a fresh round of bond buying. [FED/AHEAD] ($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Janet Guttsman)