TORONTO – A steady drip of losses is expected on the Toronto stock market as a new trading year is about to open amid growing uncertainty about how U.S. political leaders will deal with a deep partisan divide over budget deficits.

Traders have been reluctant to make big commitments on the markets as the end of December approached and with that, the fiscal cliff — the automatic imposition of big spending cuts and significant tax increases set to take effect Jan. 1.