Toronto stocks set to dip amid wider equity slump

Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:16am EDT
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TORONTO, March 13 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was set for a lower open on Thursday, adding to the previous session's decline amid a downturn in global stocks.

Investors will also analyze results from Biovail BVF.TO, Canada's largest publicly-traded drug firm, which reported a loss in the fourth quarter due to charges as well as tough competition from generic drug makers. For details, see: [nN13536197].

With the exception of soaring gold prices, commodities were mostly flat in early trade, offering little support for the resource-heavy TSX index.

Meanwhile, the luster was starting to fade from a plan by major central banks, unveiled earlier this week, to inject liquidity into faltering global credit markets.

European and Asian stocks tumbled on Thursday, gripped by fears a slowing U.S. economy would lead to a global slowdown. U.S. stock futures, a key gauge for Canadian stocks, pointed to a lower open after a report showed an unexpected drop in February retail sales.

The U.S. dollar also dipped, giving a boost to spot gold, which marched closer to $1,000 an ounce. Crude oil futures, which have logged a series of records over the last few trading days, were off 10 cents at $109.82 a barrel.

Commenting on the cash infusion by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks, Canaccord analyst Irene Haas wrote: "The infusion of capital into the U.S. economy is expected to increase economic activity and create a greater demand for crude oil."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 13,297.35 after sliding 47.18 points, or 0.35 percent, in the previous session. It has fallen in seven of the last 10 trading days.

($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway)