Canadian dollar falls below 69.5 cents US, oil up, stock markets waver

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar hovered around 69.5 cents cents US Thursday as stock markets underwent a volatile morning session.

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The loonie was at 69.57 cents US shortly before noon but had been as low as at 69.46 cents at midmorning.The currency finished 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 on a see-saw. It was down 24.43 points at 12,145.98 after nearly two hours of trading but had twice been in positive territory. On Wednesday, it lost 203.49 points, marking the 10th losing day since the Christmas break.

The Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was similarly volatile. It was up 174.34 points points at 16,298.75 but had been in the red, the broader S&P 500 index advanced 15.6 points at 1,905.91 and the Nasdaq 100 gained 27.61 points to 4,210.72.

Most major European indexes were 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 $4.20 at US$1,082.90 an ounce and the February crude contract was up $1.13 at US$31.61 per barrel.



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