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Business  

Dark day on stock markets

North American markets extended last Friday's slump, as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged nearly 1,600 points during today's trading session.

In New York, the Dow finished the day down 1,175.21 points to 24,345.75, or 4.6 per cent, erasing its gains for the year. The S&P 500 index fell 113.19 points to 2,648.94 and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 273.42 points to 6,967.53.

The sharp drop began on Friday as investors worried that creeping signs of higher inflation and interest rates could derail the market's record-setting rally.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 271.22 points to 15,334.81 in a broad-based decline that saw all sectors finish in the red.

The Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 80.11 cents US, down 0.67 of a U.S. cent.

In commodities, the March crude contract fell US$1.30 to US$64.15 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 10 cents to US$2.75 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract gave back 80 cents to US$1,336.50 an ounce and the March copper contract was up three cents to US$3.22 a pound.



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