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TSX tumbles as stimulus doubts hit commodities

Toronto's main stock index fell broadly on Wednesday as worries that market expectations of new U.S. economic stimulus measures were overblown boosted the U.S. dollar and hurt commodity prices.

 

With the U.S. mid-term elections and a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on tap for next week, traders also moved to guard against what could be an erratic period in equities on both sides of the border.

 

Prices for oil, gold and base metals all slipped as a rising greenback made commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies, pushing key resource sectors down.

 

Both energy and materials skidded 1.1 percent.

 

Among the biggest decliners were Suncor Energy (SU-T), Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX-T) and Teck Resources (TCK.B-T).

 

Diversified miner Teck said late Tuesday its third-quarter operating profit rose sharply, but its earnings fell short of market expectations partly due to higher costs.

 

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 117.43 points, or 0.93 percent, at 12,567.25. Eight of the 10 main sectors were weaker, including economically sensitive financials, off 0.7 percent.

 

Investors had been pricing in large scale U.S. Treasury bond purchases by the Fed, lifting equities, commodities and emerging market assets in recent weeks, while the greenback came under pressure against other currencies.

 

"The market was priced for perfection and perhaps that's not what we're going to see next week," said Philip Petursson, director of the portfolio advisory at MFC Global Investment Management.

 

"As such, it's better to just take money out of what's been a very strong rally, wait it out for a week and then see where we end up."

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