June 19, 2008 / 12:58 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks set to fall after inflation data

*TSX set to open lower amid higher inflation data

*Cott says to refocus business while improving profits

TORONTO, June 19 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was poised to open lower on Thursday after data showed inflation rose last month, highlighting concerns about the economy.

Canadian consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in May amid sharply higher gasoline prices. For details, see: [nN19].

“In Canada, I think we’re a little more apt to put a control on inflation and maybe raise rates a little more than the States might at this point,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A surprise decision by the Bank of Canada to hold interest rates steady last week pulled the market sharply lower with the central bank citing the risk of rising inflation.

The resource sectors looked unlikely to provide much support amid soft commodities. The price of oil, a key underlying factor for the large energy group, dipped below $136 a barrel ahead of a weekend meeting between producers and consumers in Saudi Arabia.

In individual moves, soft drink maker Cott Corp (BCB.TO) could see interest after the company said it plans to focus on private-label drinks while it tries to improve profits by cutting jobs and boosting efficiency. See: [nN19326697].

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 15,073.13 after squeaking out a small gain to reach a record close on Wednesday, its second in as many days.

“It’s still tough to say whether the market’s technically trying to find a new range with two consecutive daily highs or if it still might top out a bit and be due for a selloff,” said Ibel.

In New York, futures were up after weekly jobless claims showed a drop in people seeking initial unemployment benefits. European stocks rallied after British retail sales climbed. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Janet Guttsman)

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