CANADA STOCKS-Potash Corp drop drags TSX lower, focus turns to Fed

Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:16pm EDT

* TSX falls 11.46 points, or 0.09 percent, to 12,516.89
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Gold-mining shares jump on higher bullion
    * Potash Corp the biggest negative influence on the index
    * Wi-Lan soars 16 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, July 16 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks fell on Tuesday
as slumping Potash Corp shares offset gold-miner gains,
but market attention was locked on what Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke might say on Wednesday about the U.S. central
bank's stimulus program.
    Potash, the world's biggest fertilizer producer, dropped 3.3
percent after disappointing results from rival Mosaic Co 
reflected falling potash prices and raised concerns about
demand. Potash's fall was the biggest negative
influence on the index.
    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 congressional testimony from Bernanke to
try to get a sense of when the Fed will begin to dial back its
bond-buying program. Bernanke's comments last week that the
Fed's stance would stay accommodative drove global markets to
record levels. 
     "People are stalled at this point, waiting for the next
catalyst," said Diana Avigdor, portfolio manager and head of
trading at Barometer Capital Management.
    "Bernanke is pretty good at managing expectations," she
added. "The market is hoping that he will reiterate his message
last week that it's going to be a long, long time before the
accommodative policy ends." 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 11.46 points, or 0.09 percent, at
12,516.89. The benchmark Canadian index, which is up slightly on
the year, has sharply underperformed the S&P 500 this
year.
    "Given the shakeout we've seen in the commodities sector in
the last year or two, it will take some time before global fund
managers come back, but the 'sell Canada' theme is now on hold,"
Avigdor said. 
    Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on
Tuesday.
    Shares of energy producers gave back 0.3 percent despite a
rise in the price of oil. In the group, Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd was down 0.2 percent at C$32.93, but
Suncor Energy Inc added 0.4 percent to C$32.43.
    Most of the action was centered on the materials sector,
which includes mining stocks. The group gained 2.2 percent on a
jump in shares of gold miners, but Potash Corp's decline limited
the sector's gains. 
    Gold producers gained 4.9 percent, lifted by a higher
bullion price. Barrick Gold Corp added 5.9
percent to C$16.62, and Goldcorp Inc rose 5.1 percent to
C$28.15.
    Shares of Canadian patent licensing company Wi-Lan Inc
 soared 16.1 percent to C$3.83, shrugging off a court
ruling that four of its patents had not been
infringed.
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