Loonie, stock indexes lose strength after positive start; oil and gold up

TORONTO -- The weak Canadian dollar was again hovering near 70 cents US as North American stock markets edged lower Wednesday.

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The Canadian dollar trading at 70.08 cents US, down 0.06 of a cent from Tuesday's close after it fell briefly below 70 cents US for the first time in nearly 13 years before closing at 70.14 cents US.

North American stock markets began Wednesday's trading session on a positive note but slipped into the red mid-morning.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 6.98 points at 12,366.92. On Tuesday, the index added 54.65 points, its first positive result since the Christmas break.

The Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was down 44.85 points at 16,471.37, the broader S&P 500 index was down 5.49 points at 1,933.19 and the Nasdaq dropped 15.22 points to 4,318.495. .

Major stock indexes in Asia mostly closed higher, except the Shanghai index which fell about 2.4 per cent. European markets remained mostly higher as the North American indexes turned negative.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract was up $1.60 at US$1,086.80 an ounce and the crude contract was up $1.04 at US$31.48 per barrel. On Tuesday, crude futures dipped below US$30 for the first time in years.



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