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World stock markets plunge

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TORONTO—The Toronto Stock Exchange plunged this 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 percent 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 percent from Friday’s close.

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

The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 stocks was down 481.63 at 15,978.12 while 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 percent, 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 $39 (U.S.) a barrel.

At mid-morning, the October crude contract traded at $38.85 (U.S.), down $1.60.

The December gold contract, meanwhile, was down $1.30 at $1,158.30 (U.S.) an ounce.

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 percent to close at 3,209.91 points—its biggest one-day loss since an 8.8 percent decline on Feb. 27, 2007.

The index is down 38 percent from its June 12 peak, reached after a strong gain early in the year.

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