March 3, 2008 / 2:11 PM / 10 years ago

Toronto stocks to open lower ahead of BoC decision

TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index was poised for a soft opening on Monday amid mixed commodity prices and concerns about the health of the North American economy, and ahead of the Bank of Canada’s impending decision on interest rates.

The resource-laden S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE begins the week at 13,582.69, after dropping 291 points on Friday to be little changed on the week.

The index has failed to gain enough traction to remain above the key 14,000 mark for any significant length of time.

“The TSX has bounced off the 14,000-mark twice this past year, so it’s going to be a bit of resistance level,” said Steve Ibel, an institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“We’ll probably open a little to the downside on the general weakness in the States and that resistance on the TSX.”

Investors will digest the latest data showing Canada’s annualized economic growth had slowed in the fourth quarter to 0.8 percent from 3 percent in the previous quarter, the slowest rate since 2003.

This may increase the likelihood of an aggressive interest rate decision by the Bank of Canada’s policy makers on Tuesday.

Mixed resource prices were expected to weigh on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Shares of the country’s biggest gold miners could see interest after the price for the precious metal inched closer to the key $1,000 an ounce level on the back of a falling U.S. dollar.

But mixed base metal prices could cap the gains.

Oil shares could also gain as the price for U.S. crude oil climbed 0.3 percent to $102.22 a barrel.

Petrolifera Petroleum PDP.TO could attract attention after the Canadian oil explorer said it would restate its 2006 results due to errors in the way it reported income tax expenses. ($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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