North American stocks fall sharply as investors worry over December US rate

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed sharply lower as investors south of the border mulled the increased odds of a Federal Reserve rate hike following last week’s strong U.S. jobs data.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX index gave back 70.68 points at 13,482.62.In New York, the Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was down 179.85 points at 17,730.48, the broader S&P 500 index declined 20.62 points to 2,078.58 and the Nasdaq lost 51.82 points to 5,095.30.The Canadian dollar was at 75.33 cents U.S., up 0.12 of a cent from Friday’s close.On the commodity markets, the December gold contract rose $0.40 to US$1,088.10 an ounce, the December crude contract fell by 42 cents at US$43.87 a barrel and the December contract for natural gas was down seven cents at US$2.30.

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