Oil price weakens, loonie dips after slight improvement on Wednesday

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar weakened Thursday morning as a benchmark crude traded below US$37 a barrel.

The loonie traded at 73.70 cents US shortly before North American stock markets opened, down 0.02 of a cent.

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It had risen 0.12 on Wednesday but remains near an 11-year low of 73.41 set on Tuesday.

The January futures contract for crude oil was down 41 cents at US$36.75 per barrel, contributing to the loonie's weakness.

The Dow Jones futures contract average of 30 stocks was up 19 points at 17,394.0, the S&P 500 index was unchanged at 2,034.2 points and the Nasdaq futures gained 11.7 points to 4,621.5.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract fell $2.50 to US$1,074.00 an ounce, and the January contract for natural gas was unchanged at US$2.06.

On Wednesday, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX index rose 15.12 points to close at 12,937.59, after losing 436 points over the previous two sessions.



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