* TSX down 34.96 points at 12,199.53
* Materials, energy, financial groups lower (Updates to afternoon)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index cut much of its earlier losses on Tuesday afternoon after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it stood ready to provide additional stimulus to bolster a sluggish recovery.
The Fed’s still-cautious outlook on the struggling U.S. economy raised gold’s safe haven appeal, boosting the metal to a record high of $1,288.50 an ounce and lifting miners off their earlier lows.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) was down 0.2 percent at C$47.71, rebounding from an earlier low of C$46.32, while Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) gained 0.6 percent to C$45.16, after being as low as C$44.13
The U.S. central bank made no shift in monetary policy at the end of its one-day meeting, but said it was prepared to provide additional support to bolster a modest economic recovery. [ID:nN20109053]
“I don’t think we got everything that the market wanted. I believe the market probably wanted a little more clarity on what economic data they’re looking at to trigger further stimulus,” said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management in Vancouver.
“That wasn’t clarified yet and it kind of plays into politics with elections coming up, so I think the next Fed meeting will probably be more a little bit more clear.”
At 3:07 p.m. (1907 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 34.96 points, or 0.29 percent, at 12,199.53. Six of its 10 sectors were lower, including all three powerhouses: materials, down 0.5 percent; energy, down 0.7 percent; and financials, off 0.2 percent.
Earlier, the TSX had declined more sharply on soft commodity prices, following the previous day’s rally which saw the TSX finish at its highest closing level since April.
Also weighing heavily, Potash Corp POT.TO dropped more than 1 percent to C$150.97 after BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) chief executive said the Anglo-Australian miner was prepared to walk away from its bid for the world’s largest fertilizer maker if a rival were to offer a price that exceeds the point where BHP sees value for its shareholders. [ID:nN21172221]
On the upside, Research In Motion RIM.TO jumped 4 percent to C$48.23 after a senior Indian source told Reuters the government was in talks with the smartphone company for access to BlackBerry corporate emails. [ID:nSGE68K0JU]
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)