North American markets up, loonie drops ahead of Fed decision

TORONTO -- North American markets were up and the Canadian dollar fell sharply in early-morning trading in advance of the interest rate decision by the U.S.

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Federal Reserve due later today.

The S&P/TSX composite index had risen 109.09 points to 13,028.66 at 11 a.m., led by the gold and mining subsectors.

The Dow Jones average was up 28.02 points at 17,552.93, the S&P 500 index added 5.2 points to 2,048.63 and the Nasdaq gained 11.2 points to 5,006.56.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract added $13 to US$1,074.60 an ounce, the January crude contract was down 51 cents at US$36.84 per barrel and the January contract for natural gas was down 0.4 cents at US$1.816.

The loonie was down 0.47 of a cent at 72.32 cents US. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates this afternoon, widening the gap in monetary policy between Canada and the United States.



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