Oil drops below US$27, gold soars

TORONTO -- The Canadian dollar and Toronto Stock Exchange continued to retreat today as the price of oil traded below US$27 a barrel for the first time since September 2003.

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Canada's oil-sensitive loonie was down 0.22 of a cent at 71.55 cents US at 11 a.m. ET and the S&P/TSX composite index was down 136.11 points or 1.1 per cent at 12,049.61.

The benchmark oil futures contract for March was at US$26.39, down 71 cents, and had been as low as $26.22 earlier in the day.

In contrast, the April gold contract rose $43.10 to US$1,237.70 a troy ounce as investors sought a safe haven from lower equity and oil prices.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 294.46 points or 1.8 per cent at 15,620.28, the broader S&P 500 composite index declined 28.25 points to 1,823.61 and the Nasdaq composite lost 47.70 points to 4,235.89.

Elsewhere in commodities, March copper was down half a cent at US$2.02 a pound and the March contract for natural gas was up 1.4 cents at US$2.06.



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