* TSX falls 23.31 points, or 0.19 percent, to 12,344.12
* Five of 10 main index sectors decline
* BlackBerry slips 3.2 percent after downgrade
By John Tilak
TORONTO, June 19 Canada's main stock index
retreated on Wednesday morning on market foreboding about what
the U.S. Federal Reserve might say about its easy-money policy
in a statement to be issued later in the day.
Financial shares dropped on the Fed-induced market anxiety,
and smartphone maker BlackBerry fell 3.2 percent after a
brokerage downgraded its U.S.-listed shares.
In recent weeks the market has been hit by speculation about
whether the Fed will roll back its stimulus program, but
expectations that the central bank will stick to the status quo
gained momentum in the last few days, and Toronto stocks
recorded gains on Monday and Tuesday.
"We are seeing a bit of a pause," said Julie Brough, vice
president at Morgan Meighen & Associates. "There is (still) a
little bit of optimism that the statement will give some
consolation to investors that (the Fed pullback) is not going to
be imminent and damaging when it does happen."
She said she expects that the Fed's retreat from stimulus
will be a prolonged process. "The Fed has no desire to disrupt
the economy or financial markets and create havoc."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
was down 23.31 points, or 0.19 percent, at 12,344.12.
It is in the red for the year.
To get the TSX to lift off, investors need to see a rebound
in commodity prices, as well as increasing signs of growth in
China and other parts of Asia, Brough said.
"That's what Toronto is waiting for," she said. "You need
that extra bit of momentum to lift the resource stocks."
In a Reuters poll released this week, analysts forecast the
resource-heavy Toronto stock index, which has struggled to gain
traction in 2013, would kick into gear in the second half of the
year as the global economy rebounds.
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave
back 0.2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's
biggest lender, declined 0.4 percent to C$60.89 and had the most
influential impact on the index.
BlackBerry's stumble, to C$14.64, caused the information
technology sector to fall 0.8 percent.
Energy shares were up slightly with the price of oil.
In the group, Encana Corp rose 1.7 percent to C$18.80.
Imperial Oil Ltd said that it was unable to find a
buyer for its refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and will
instead convert the facility into a terminal operation. The
stock was down 0.2 percent at C$40.44.