Stocks fall, Fed minutes fail to provide clarity about winding up key stimulus

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market finished sharply lower as minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting reinforced the view that the central bank will start winding up a key economic stimulus program later this year.

But there was some disappointment that the minutes didn't provide much in the way of clarity about when the Fed may start winding up its US$85 billion of monthly bond purchases.

The S

The Canadian dollar finished down 0.78 of a cent at 95.48 cents US as the greenback strengthened.

New York's Dow industrials dropped 105.44 points to 14,897.55, its first close below 15,000 since July 3. The Nasdaq was 13.8 points lower at 3,599.79 and the S

The minutes showed that a few Fed policy-makers wanted to assess more economic data before deciding when to scale back the bond purchases. Others said it "might soon be time" to slow the purchases, which have helped keep long-term rates near record lows and fuelled a strong rally on the U.S. equity markets this year.