North American markets dragged down by sinking metal, energy stocks

TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market plunged this morning, dragged down by sinking metal, energy and financial stocks.

The S&P/TSX index was down 168.21 points or 1.3 per cent at 12,595.23 after the first 90 minutes of trading.

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The index had been down about 257 points earlier in the morning, about two per cent below Tuesday's close.

The Canadian dollar lost 0.17 of a cent to 72.46 cents US.

On the commodity markets, the April crude contract dipped 93 cents at US$30.94 per barrel.

The negative sentiment was also felt across the major indexes in New York, although they were also up from earlier lows.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 209.38 points or 1.27 per cent to 16,222.40.

The broader S&P 500 composite index dropped 24.10 points or 1.25 per cent to 1,897.17 and the Nasdaq composite index dipped 59.28 points or 1.32 per cent to 4,444.31.

The April contract for natural gas was up 0.2 of a cent at US$1.83 per mmBtu, while March copper lost 2.6 cents to US$2.08 a pound.

April gold jumped $26.80 to US$1,249.40 an ounce.



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