Canadian dollar falls below 69.5 cents US, oil steady

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar fell below 69.5 cents cents US Thursday as stock markets around the world traded lower.

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The loonie was as low as at 69.46 cents US after North American stock markets began their day. The currency finished the day Wednesday at 69.71 cents U.S., the first close below 70 cents U.S. since April 2003.

Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 98.34 points at 12,072.07. On Wednesday, it lost 203.49 points, marking the 10th losing day since the Christmas break.

The Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was down 27.84 points at 16,123.57, the broader S&P 500 index declined 6.6 points to 1,883.68 and the Nasdaq 100 lost 36.4 points to 4,146.71.

Most major European indexes were also down and Asian markets closed lower with the exception of Shanghai, which rose nearly 2.2 per cent.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract was down $1.10 at US$1,086.00 an ounce and the February crude contract was up 43 cents at US$30.91 per barrel -- near the lowest levels in years.


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