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Loonie gains amid falling oil prices, TSX advances on rising gold stocks

TORONTO — On a day that saw oil prices retract, the loonie strengthened while the Toronto stock market advanced on rising gold stocks.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 61.02 points at 15,422.12, with gold stocks leading advancers with a gain of more than six per cent.

The loonie added 0.26 of a U.S. cent to 74.03 cents US, amid weak oil prices.

The February contract for crude retracted 29 cents to US$53.77 per barrel, a day after settling at its highest level this year.

South of the border, New York indexes drifted lower as the Dow Jones industrial average lost 13.9 points to 19,819.78, the broader S&P 500 was down 0.66 of a point to 2,249.26, and the Nasdaq composite declined 6.47 points to 5,432.09.

In commodities, the February gold contract rose $17.20 to US$1158.10 an ounce, February natural gas dipped 9.6 cents to US$3.80 per mmBTU, and March copper shed 1.25 cents to about US$2.49 per pound.