Canadian dollar makes big advance, stock markets moderately higher

TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar surged this morning, gaining ground against several major currencies.

The loonie was at 75.22 cents US shortly after 11 a.m., up 0.75 of a U.S. cent from Monday.

It also advanced against the euro, yen and British pound.

The gain by the currency came as the S&P/TSX composite index also advanced, rising by 73.68 points to 15,476.71.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 34.70 points to 19,916.46 and the S&P 500 rose 9.79 points to 2,267.62. The Nasdaq composite climbed 33.44 points to 5,462.52.

The February crude contract rose 26 cents to US$52.58 per barrel and February natural gas fell six cents to $3.27 per mmBtu.

The February gold contract rose $2.80 to US$1,164.80 an ounce and March copper contracts gained six cents at US$2.55 a pound.