October 8, 2019

North American stocks slump as oil drops and rate hike looms large

TORONTO — A strengthening U.S. dollar and falling oil prices put pressure on the loonie, as the commodity-sensitive currency closed at its lowest level in more than a month.The Canadian dollar fell for a third straight session, giving back 0.48 of a U.S. cent to 76.31 cents US. The loonie has not closed below this level since it finished at 76.08 cents US on April 7.Meanwhile, the S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto ended the day little changed as it found lift from materials, gold and consumer staples stocks. The index dipped 8.69 points to 13,817.32.In commodities, the July contract for North American benchmark crude lost 11 cents to US$48.67 a barrel, while June natural gas rallied four cents to US$2.04 per mmBtu.The June contract for gold bullion was down $19.60 at US$1,254.80 a troy ounce, while July copper shed two cents to US$2.06 a pound.Fears over the growing possibility of a June interest rate hike weighed heavily on Wall Street as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 91.22 points to 17,435.40, while the broader S&P 500 fell 7.59 points to 2,040.04. The Nasdaq composite lost 26.59 points to 4,712.53.

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