CANADA STOCKS-Fed speculation, commodity price drop weigh on TSX

Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:14pm EST

* TSX falls 32.35 points, or 0.24 percent, to 13,326.04
    * Six of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Rona jumps after posting profit rise

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
dropped on Tuesday as worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve
might cut back its stimulus program weighed on commodity prices,
hitting heavyweight energy and materials shares.
    Investors also digested news that China's ruling party
pledged to let markets play a "decisive" role in allocating
resources as it unveiled a reform agenda for the next decade.
 
    Meanwhile, a slew of economic data unveiled last week,
including robust U.S. jobs numbers, continued to spark fears
that the Fed might scale back its stimulus measures.
    Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen is expected to be nominated in a
U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday to replace Ben
Bernanke at the helm of the central bank.
    "The market is waiting for (Yellen) to take over and see
what she's going to do about the economy," said Ron Meisels,
technical analyst and president of Phases & Cycles, who does not
expect any dramatic change in Fed policy.
    The Canadian market declined for a second straight session
after jumping about 4 percent in the past month.
    "Toronto had a fantastic rise from early October, and some
of the stocks here in Canada are getting a little bit tired,"
Meisels said. "I will not be surprised if there's a bit of a
correction."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed down 32.35 points, or 0.24 percent, at
13,326.04. 
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's weightiest sector, slipped slightly,
with Royal Bank of Canada losing 0.3 percent to C$69.88.
    Shares of energy producers gave back 0.9 percent. In the
group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd fell 1.2 percent
to C$32.13, and Suncor Energy Inc dropped 0.7 percent to
C$36.50.  
    Gold miners dropped 1.8 percent. Goldcorp Inc 
declined 1.8 percent to C$25.15, and Barrick Gold Corp 
shed 0.4 percent to C$18.93.
    Shoppers Drug Mart Corp reported slightly lower
quarterly net income due in part to charges from its pending
acquisition by grocer Loblaw Cos Ltd. That didn't stop
shares of the pharmacy chain from climbing 0.5 percent to
C$61.05. 
    Shares of Rona Inc jumped 3.7 percent to C$12.45
after the home improvement chain reported a bigger quarterly
profit as it cut costs, but competition and cooling new home
construction hurt sales.