UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks slip after strong start

Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:54am EDT
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(Updates to midmorning)

*Stocks retreat after pushing higher at the open

*Agrium jumps after profit outlook boosted

*Forzani falls after reports quarter loss

TORONTO, June 11 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index reversed course to slip lower on Wednesday, as nagging worries about the economy offset a gain in Agrium AGU.TO after it boosted its profit outlook.

Agrium was the top net gainer, up C$7.23, or 7.7 percent, at C$101.46, after the fertilizer company upped its second-quarter outlook. But the company also warned that a syndicate of banks funding its joint venture in Egypt alleged "a condition of default" after a halt in construction at the site.

The resource space trimmed earlier gains while the broader market sagged, dragged down by unease over the prospect of rising inflation the day after the Bank of Canada said price hikes were the top risk to the economy.

"I think inflation is becoming more and more of a concern," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel. "People are getting more concerned about how those higher oil prices are going to be affecting the economy for the foreseeable future."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 31.17 points, or 0.2 percent, at 14,705.03 after climbing as high as 14,817.09 shortly after the open. Of its 10 main sectors, eight were looking down.   Continued...