TSX Closes Up 10 Pts, But Was Up 150 Pts Near Mid-Session

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Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, twice lost strong gains Wednesday - the second time it proved costly.

The first time, mid-morning, the index lost around half of the 100-plus points it was already up from Tuesday's close. On that occasion, it recovered fairly quickly and pushed on to stand around 150 points higher early afternoon. But then it slumped again, and this time there was no quick recovery. The index lost all gains and even slipped in to negative territory late on, before finally finding some buyers in the final minutes.

Investors and traders were left winded after the United States Fed's meeting minutes did not shed much light on plans regarding the timing of the end of its current open-ended asset purchase program, raising doubts about just how much the U.S. economy has recovered. This, in turn, cast a cloud over the economy in Canada, which is the largest trading partner of the States. All of this uncertainty - on top of weaker commodities - weighed on many stocks in the resources heavy TSX.

Having said that, the Metals & Mining and Telecom sectors were the only ones to make gains.

It was a volatile day for gold futures, which spiked ahead of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's speech but then swung lower as the markets digested the content of his speech for clues on when, or if, the FOMC will begin to curb its loose monetary policies. Gold peaked at $1,410 per ounce ahead of the speech and closed down at $1,367.40 per ounce after the Fed Reserve Minutes showed many members want to see further progress being made in the U.S. economic recovery before they move to slow or end stimulus.

Crude-oil futures settled down 2% today, pressured by the latest inventory data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude supplies declined by 300,000 barrels for the week ended May 17. Analysts polled by Platts expected a 1.2 million-barrel decline. Also adding downward pressure to oil prices was Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech in which he said that if economic improvement continued, "We could in the next few meetings take a step down in our pace" of bond purchases.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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