CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips as drop in golds offsets energy gains

Reuters

* TSX falls 12.76 points, or 0.09 percent, to 13,430.01

* Five of the 10 main index sectors decline

* Gold-mining shares drop 3.7 percent

By John Tilak

TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index

slipped on Wednesday after comments from the U.S. Federal

Reserve suggesting a rollback of its monetary stimulus program

in the next few months fueled a bullion selloff, which weighed

on gold-mining stocks.

Bullion prices hit a four-month low, sending gold miners

down about 4 percent to their lowest level in more than a month,

which offset gains in the index's energy sector.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke assured markets in a speech on

Tuesday that the Fed will maintain its ultra-easy monetary

policy for as long as required. But in minutes from the Fed's

October meeting released on Wednesday, Fed officials indicated

they could decide to start scaling back the program at one of

the central bank's next few meetings, provided economic growth

supports the move.

Investors also combed through data that showed U.S. consumer

spending topping market expectations in October but inflation

remaining subdued.

"The Fed is very cautious about derailing any economic

recovery that we're having," said Luciano Orengo, a portfolio

manager at Manulife Asset Management, who added that recent

economic data has been painting a mixed picture.

"Given that third-quarter earnings are pretty much out of

the way, investors are looking closely at macroeconomic data

coming out."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index

closed down 12.76 points, or 0.09 percent, at

13,430.01.

After a sluggish start to the year, the benchmark Canadian

index has rebounded, though its gains don't match those of U.S.

indexes.

A near-term correction could be on the horizon, Orengo said,

but U.S. stocks are likely more vulnerable than the Canadian

market.

Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on

Wednesday.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, dropped

2.2 percent, hurt by the fall in gold producers. Goldcorp Inc

was down 3.2 percent at C$24.51, and Barrick Gold Corp

shed 3.9 percent to C$17.94.

Shares of financial companies climbed slightly, with

Toronto-Dominion Bank adding 0.3 percent to C$97.86.

Energy shares advanced 0.7 percent, benefiting from a gain

in the price of Brent crude oil. Suncor Energy Inc rose

1.4 percent to C$37.85.

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