CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits one-week high ahead of Fed statement

Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:33am EST

* TSX rises 86.95 points, or 0.66 percent, to 13,267.11
    * All of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Barrick declines after directors leave
    * BlackBerry slips after former SAP executive joins company

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
sharply on Wednesday, hitting a one-week high, as investors
awaited the outcome of a Federal Reserve policy meeting that
could determine the fate of the U.S. central bank's monetary
stimulus program.
    The market has been fixated on when the Fed will start
scaling back its stimulative bond-buying program, which has
injected trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy since its
inception.
    With the world's biggest economy showing signs of
acceleration, some investors fear the central bank might soon 
start to take its foot off the gas pedal.
    Fed officials began a two-day meeting on Tuesday, and their
decision is expected to be announced on Wednesday afternoon.
    "There's a lot of trepidation that tapering might come
earlier, but I don't expect anything dramatic from the Fed
today," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment
Management.
    "I think they're going to wait until they're fairly
confident that the economic recovery has got enough momentum,"
he added. "Until that's pretty clear, I don't see them pulling
back the throttle."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 86.95 points, or 0.66 percent, at 13,267.11,
after rising as high as 13,290.70, its highest level since
Dec.11.
    All of the 10 main sectors on the index rose.
    Shares of banks and insurers jumped 1 percent. Royal Bank of
Canada, the country's biggest lender, climbed 1.2
percent to C$69.57, and Manulife Financial Corp added
1.2 percent to C$19.97.
    The energy sector received a boost from higher oil prices,
gaining 0.4 percent. Suncor Energy Inc was up 0.5
percent at C$35.67, and Enbridge Inc rose 1.1 percent
to C$44.43.
    In corporate news, Barrick Gold Corp said on
Tuesday that two long-time directors, Donald Carty and Robert
Franklin, have resigned from the company's board. The stock
slipped 0.2 percent to C$18.20. 
    Shares of BlackBerry Ltd were down 0.6 percent at
C$6.45 after the smartphone maker said on Tuesday that former
SAP executive John Sims will join the company as head of its
global enterprise services business.
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