North American stock markets begin Friday with step up; gold down, oil up

TORONTO -- North American stock markets began the last session of a difficult week with a substantial step up.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index gained 153.51 points or 1.3 per cent to 12,240.88, a turnaround after five days of losses that lowered the index by nearly 760 points since Feb.

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In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 95.33 points, or less than one per cent, at 15,755.510.

The broader S&P 500 composite index advanced 14.94 points to 1,844.02 and the Nasdaq composite gained 35.95 points to 4,302.79.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.08 of a cent at 71.75 cents US.

On the commodity markets, the April gold contract fell $14.80 to US$1,233.00 an ounce.

March contracts for crude were up $1.93 at US$28.14 per barrel, copper contracts rose nearly three cents to $2.32 and natural gas contracts fell nearly two cents to US$1.98.



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