TSX closes at lowest level since June 2013

TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market has closed at its lowest level since June 2013, wrapping up one of its most volatile weeks in recent memory, as oil prices and the Canadian dollar continued their rapid descent Friday.

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The loonie continued to plumb depths not seen since 2003, losing 0.81 of a U.S. cent Friday to settle at 68.82 cents U.S.

The dollar has fallen for 10 consecutive trading days against the U.S. dollar. That's one of its longest losing streaks since Ottawa ended its peg against the greenback and allowed the currency to trade freely in 1970.

Ian Nakamoto, director of research at wealth management firm 3Macs, said the dollar's slide is going to have an obvious impact on Canadians, particularly those planning vacations in the U.S. But Nakamoto also spoke of another effect.

"When we see the dollar drop like that, I think there is a sense of -- I shouldn't say loss of national pride -- but less confidence in what's going on in Canada," he said.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index dropped 262.57 points or 2.13 per cent to 12,073.46. Since the beginning of the year, the market has lost 7.2 per cent of its value.

Meanwhile, New York markets wrapped up what has been their worst two-week start to a year ever.

The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 390.97 points or 2.39 per cent to 15,988.08, while the S&P500 shed 41.51 points or 2.16 per cent to 1,880.33. The Nasdaq fell 126.58 points or 2.74 per cent to 4,488.42.

On commodity markets, the February contract for benchmark crude oil fell $1.78 to US$29.42, a low not seen in more than a decade.

February natural gas fell four cents to US$2.10 per mmBTU and March copper shed three cents to US$1.94 a pound. The February gold contract gained $17.10 to US$1,090.70 an ounce.



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