TSX plunges as part of global downturn

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TSX Dow Jones

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange plunged Monday morning, part of a global downturn affecting markets around the world.

The market’s benchmark S&P/TSX index was down about 348.39 points at 13,125.28 shortly before noon, representing a drop of 2.6 per cent from Friday’s close.

Earlier in the day, the Toronto index traded as low as 12,705.17 points, down as much as 768.5 points or 5.7 per cent from Friday’s close.

Major U.S. market indexes also fell sharply, following declines in Europe and Asia earlier Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 stocks was down 481.63 at 15,978.12 and the broader S&P 500 index was down 59.07 points at 1,911.82. The Nasdaq 100 index was down 113.24 or 2.7 per cent at 4,084.03.

The Canadian dollar was among the currencies trading lower as the price of many of its natural resources fell amid concerns about the strength of China’s economy, the world’s second-largest.

Canada’s dollar was down about half of a U.S. cent at 75.47 cents U.S.

On commodity markets, the benchmark oil price dipped below US$39 a barrel. At mid-morning, the October crude contract traded at US$38.85, down $1.60.

The December gold contract was down $1.30 at US$1,158.30 an ounce, while September natural gas was down two cents at US$2.66 per thousand cubic feet.

China’s largest stock market, which closes hours before the North American trading day begins, experienced its biggest one-day drop in eight years.

China’s Shanghai composite index fell 8.5 per cent to close at 3,209.91 points, its biggest one-day loss since an 8.8 per cent decline on Feb. 27, 2007. The index is down 38 per cent from its June 12 peak, reached after a strong gain early in the year.