* 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 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
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.