Toronto stocks sag as oil, inflation data weigh

Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:53am EDT
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TORONTO, June 19 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index opened lower on Thursday, as energy shares fell while oil tumbled and a jump in inflation underscored concerns over the risks facing the economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 53.48 points, or 0.4 percent, at 15,019.65 shortly after the opening bell with eight of its 10 main sectors on the negative side.

The energy sector led the way down, shedding 0.9 percent, in the wake of a retreat in the price of oil.

On the economic front, Canadian consumer prices rose 2.2 percent last month due to a sharp increase in gasoline prices. The increase of 1 percent from April to May was the single largest monthly rise since January 1991.

The data added a negative tone to the market and appeared to reinforce the Bank of Canada's recent focus on the economic threat inflation poses.

Cott Corp BCB.TO gained 22 Canadian cents, or 8.7 percent, to C$2.75 after it said it plans to focus on private-label drinks while it tries to improve profits by cutting jobs and boosting efficiency.

On the upside, the materials sector rose 0.9 percent with help from shares in gold producers as the price of bullion gained. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Scott Anderson)