* TSX down 116.55 points, or 1 percent, at 11,513.33
* Bernanke calls recovery “unusually uncertain”
* Nine of TSX’s 10 main groups drop (Adds details, quote)
TORONTO, July 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell sharply on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy faces “unusually uncertain” prospects.
Bernanke said policymakers believe the U.S. economy is still on the path to recovery, but that the Fed is ready to take further steps to bolster growth if needed. [ID:nWALLIE6DU]
His remarks to the U.S. Senate banking committee added to investor jitters about a sluggish economic recovery, helping to push down North American equities. [.N]
In Canada, big names on the downside included Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), off 2.9 percent at C$52.00, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), down 1.6 percent at C$70.55.
“It’s all about the outlook being ‘unusually uncertain.’ This is not the environment to put risk on. It’s a perfect environment to duck and cover,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was down 1.8 percent at C$32.54, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) fell 1.6 percent to C$35.92 as oil prices fell, due in part to data showing U.S. crude inventories rose unexpectedly last week. [O/R]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session down 116.55 points, or 1 percent, at 11,513.33. Nine of the index’s 10 main groups skidded.
The index’s heavily weighted energy and financials sectors led the slide, down 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. The lone sector in the black was consumer staples, up 0.3 percent.
Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Canada’s biggest natural gas producer, was down 4.6 percent at C$32.90 after reporting a quarterly loss, hurt partly by commodity hedging. [ID:nSGE66K0ES]
“Encana coming out this morning with not so great news so I think that really took the wind out of the TSX’s sail,” said Serge Pepin, head of investments at BMO Investments Inc.
As well, Pepin said a robust quarterly report from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) hurt Research In Motion RIM.TO, which was off 3.1 percent at C$55.94.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 8.61 points, or 1.26 percent, lower at 673.15.
Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 2.4 percent to C$35.14, and Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) rose 2.8 percent to C$4.78.
($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)