TSX falls as energy, mining stocks weigh; Fed seen divided

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended barely lower on Wednesday, dragged down by resource stocks but paring sharper losses after minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting showed mixed opinions on when conditions may allow for higher U.S. interest rates.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 5.84 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,697.60, after falling to its lowest in more than a week earlier in the session. It hit a 13-month high last week.

Energy stocks stayed low despite a turn higher in oil prices that extended the commodity’s rally to five days, as investors weigh up how sustainable the gain in crude prices to near the top of a $40-to-$50-a-barrel range would be.

“The stocks pulling back would tell me that people aren’t convinced that this rally is going to keep going,” said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

The energy group retreated 0.6 percent overall, with major producer Suncor Energy Inc down 0.7 percent to C$36.33 and pipeline company Enbridge Inc off 0.5 percent at C$53.43.

The minutes from the Fed’s July meeting showed that some policymakers see a need to tighten policy soon while the U.S. central bank still wants to see more supportive economic data before pulling the trigger.

“Both the bulls and the bears were able to take away things from it,” CMC’s Cieszynski said.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.2 percent.

Gold miners were a particular weight, as bullion prices steadied after the Fed minutes.

Barrick Gold Corp shed 2.2 percent to C$26.78 and Goldcorp Inc lost 1.7 percent to C$23.76.

Six of the Canadian index’s 10 main groups finished in positive territory, while decliners outnumbering advancers by a ratio of 1.2-to-1.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc jumped 12.6 percent to C$38.51 after Morgan Stanley raised its rating and price target on the stock.

Performance Sports Group Ltd slumped 14.8 percent to C$2.30 after the sports equipment maker said it was facing an investigation by U.S. and Canadian securities regulators, two days after it said it was conducting an internal probe into its financials.

Editing by Phil Berlowitz and James Dalgleish