Loonie edges up ahead of holiday, stock markets to close early for Christmas

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar and U.S. index futures were slightly positive Thursday morning, ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.

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The loonie was up 0.04 of a cent at 72.21 cents US after rising 0.42 on Wednesday. It remains near 11-year lows.

The Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was up 14 points at 17,486.0, the broader S&P 500 index declined 0.40 points to 2,052.6 and the Nasdaq gained 5.0 points to 4,611.8.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract rose $4.30 to US$1,072.60 an ounce, the February crude contract was up 29 cents at US$37.79 per barrel and the January contract for natural gas was up six cents at US$2.05.

On Wednesday, Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index climbed 202.05 points to close at 13,284.91,



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