CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as gold shares climb, Potash Corp slips
* TSX falls 9.38 points, or 0.07 percent, to 12,518.97 * Seven of 10 main index sectors decline * Gold-mining shares jump on higher bullion price * Potash Corp the biggest negative influence on index By John Tilak TORONTO, July 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Tuesday, with weakness in resource shares overcoming a gain in banks as investors seeking clues about the future of the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus program focused on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony on Wednesday. The market also processed mixed U.S. earnings reports as well as data that showed U.S. consumer prices rose in June, while underlying inflation pressures were stabilizing. Investors awaited Bernanke's testimony to try to get a sense of when the Fed will dial back on stimulus. "People are very unsure of what's going on. They're being very prudent," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "Ben Bernanke seems to have telegraphed the fact that tapering isn't a done deal yet," Michael added. "He'll provide some guidance and that could have an effect on the market." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 9.38 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,518.97. Michael expects the benchmark Canadian index, which is up slightly on the year, to start outperforming the U.S. market if signs of stabilization in commodity prices and positive news from China start to emerge. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. Shares of energy producers gave back 0.4 percent despite a rise in the price of oil. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was down almost 1 percent at C$32.68, and Suncor Energy Inc fell 0.4 percent to C$32.18. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, was little changed as a jump in shares of gold miners was offset by weakness in Potash Corp. Potash, the world's biggest fertilizer producer, slipped 2.2 percent to C$40.39 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the index lower. It fell after rival fertilizer company Mosaic Co reported a lower quarterly profit on Tuesday as phosphate and potash prices slipped. Gold producers gained more than 1 percent, lifted by a higher bullion price. Barrick Gold Corp added 2 percent to C$16.01. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender, advanced 0.4 percent to C$62.50.
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