Toronto shares fall in the lead up to U.S. Fed’s rate decision

By Shashwat Chauhan

(Reuters) -Canada’s main stock index fell in broad-based declines on Wednesday, with industrials at the helm of the selling pressure ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy decision due later in the day.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1438 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 89.56 points, or 0.44%, at 20,144.28. Wall Street, on the other hand, had a mixed start to the session. [.N]

Heavyweight financials lost 0.6% early on, while industrials also slumped 0.6%.

The Fed takes center stage as it is due to announce the decision from its last monetary policy meeting of the year at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The central bank is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, with the spotlight squarely on comments from Chair Jerome Powell during his press conference scheduled 30 minutes after the decision is made public.

“As the decision to pause again is nearly certain, all eyes will be on the statement, press conference and the dot plot,” said John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management.

On Wednesday’s data front, U.S. producer prices were unexpectedly unchanged in November as a decline in the cost of energy products more than offset higher food prices, indicating that inflation at the factory gate continued to subside.

“In all, the report was less threatening than yesterday’s CPI results, though obviously the PPI does not carry the same importance as the CPI and PCE deflators,” noted Stephen Stanley, chief U.S. economist at Santander Corporate & Investment Banking.

This comes a day after data showed U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly rose in November.

Among individual stocks, Transcontinental added 3.9% after the packaging company reported a rise in fourth-quarter adjusted profit per share.

Dollarama gained 0.6% after the discount store operator lifted its annual sales forecast.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)