Stimulus hopes boost Asian stocks, oil rise

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was continuing its upward momentum for a second consecutive day as oil prices gained strength Friday.

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The loonie was at 70.60 cents US with about two hours to go before the Toronto Stock Exchange opens.

That's up more than half a cent from Thursday's close at 70.03 cents US, which was up about one full cent from Wednesday.

Oil prices were also rising Friday, with a benchmark crude trading at about $31 per barrel, after dipping below US$28 per barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2003. March crude futures closed Thursday at US$29.53 a barrel.

Canada's dollar has sunk to lows that haven't been seen since April 2003 as a result of the low world oil prices as well as factors such as weak global economic growth and the gap between Canadian and American interest rates.

The country's largest stock exchange has also plunged since the Christmas break, mainly because of depressed prices for shares of commodity producers in the energy and mining sectors.



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