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Lacklustre trade deficit data weakens Canadian dollar, Toronto stock index up

TORONTO _ The loonie weakened against a strengthening U.S. dollar amid a series of trade deficit reports released today, as Canada’s main stock index moved up moderately.

The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.69 cents US, down 0.44 of a cent.

Statistics Canada says that the country’s trade deficit increased to $3.4 billion in August compared with a $3.0-billion deficit in July. Meanwhile, rising U.S. exports helped trim that country’s trade deficit to its lowest level in nearly a year.

South of the border, it was also the fourth straight record day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 113.75 points to 22,775.39, the S&P 500 index was up 14.33 points to 2,552.07 and the Nasdaq composite index added 50.73 points to 6,585.36.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index gained 55.30 points to 15,776.30 in a broad-based advance.

In commodities, the November crude contract was up 81 cents to US$50.79 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down three cents at US$2.92 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract added $3.60 cents to US$1,273.20 an ounce and the December copper contract was up nine cents to US$3.05 a pound.