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TORONTO — The Toronto stock market plunged over 200 points as emerging market worries persuaded investors to avoid riskier assets like equities and commodities.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 215.18 points to 13,717.79. The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.21 of a cent to 90.31 cents US.
The Dow Jones industrials fell 318.24 points to 15,879.11 after plunging 176 points on Thursday. The Nasdaq was 90.7 points lower to 4,128.17 while the S&P 500 index was down 38.17 points to 1,790.29.
Investors are worried about sharp drops in the values of currencies in several emerging markets, including Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Argentina.
These drops were sparked by moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut back on its massive bond purchases, a key stimulus measure that kept long-term rates low.
But U.S. bond yields have risen as the Fed moves to taper its purchases, and investors have responded by taking their money out of emerging markets.
World equity risk 7:22
Toronto’s benchmark stock index hit its highest level in more than 2.5 years on Friday as the rebounding gold price and new confidence about the global economy pushed equities up.
Around midday the S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 60 points to 13,891.64. It closed the day at 13,888, up 56.81. Higher commodity prices buoyed the resource-heavy TSX, even in other sectors.
“There’s definitely a will to buy equities. There are very little immediate headwinds,” Manulife director Kevin Headland told Reuters. “Canada seems to be moving higher based on better global economic data and expectation of the demand for resources.”
Seven of the 10 sectors on the TSX were higher. Gold was a particular source of strength, with February bullion up $11.70 to $1,251.90 US an ounce. Barrick Gold advanced 69 cents to $20.61 while Goldcorp gained $1.05 to $25.43
The sector fell almost 50 per cent last year and “I think a lot of people dumped it at the end of last year to get it off the books and now you’re seeing the relief rally,” said Cieszynski.
The tech sector climbed 1.37 per cent as BlackBerry rose 61 cents to $9.98
Closing in on 13,900 points puts the TSX at the highest level it’s been since the middle of 2011, more than two and a half years ago.
The loonie fell 0.42 of a cent to 91.11 cents US.