February 21st, 2018

North American stock markets extend losses, loonie down against U.S. dollar

By The Canadian Press on February 8, 2018.

A Toronto Stock Exchange ticker is seen at The Exchange Tower in Toronto on Thursday, August 18 2011. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 64.71 points to 15,265.87, after 90 minutes of trading. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

TORONTO – North American stock markets slid lower in midday trading Thursday, as the Canadian dollar also lost ground.

The market opened little changed, but started to fall in early trading and extended its losses throughout the morning. The losses were steady, unlike the sharp swings seen over the past few days.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 176.03 points to 15,154.55, in a broad-based decline. Gold was the only positive sector on the commodity-heavy index as more investors shifted toward the safe-haven asset.

The April gold bullion contract was up US$7.00 to US$1,321.60 an ounce.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at 79.37 cents US, down from an average price of 79.71 cents US on Wednesday. The loonie has been sliding since last week as jittery investors have turned to the greenback as a safe haven.

Stocks began to fall last Friday after U.S. jobs data showed wages growing more than anticipated, raising worries that creeping signs of higher inflation might push the U.S. Federal Reserve to increase interest rates more quickly.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 612.28 points to 24,281.07. The S&P 500 index was down 57.11 points to 2,624.55 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 165.94 points to 6,886.04.

Elsewhere in commodities, the March crude contract was down 91 cents to US$60.88 per barrel and the March natural gas contract up one cent to US$2.72 per mmBTU. The March copper contract was down one cent to US$3.08 a pound.

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