TORONTO — The Toronto Stock Exchange was poised Tuesday to post one of its biggest losses of an already volatile year amid a general market sell-off that saw oil prices depreciate to levels not seen in more than a decade.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 301.69 points or 2.4 per cent at 12,233.71 in mid-afternoon trading Tuesday.
The downturn accompanied yet another big drop in the price of oil as the March contract for North American benchmark crude fell $1.75 to US$27.94 a barrel — a drop of nearly six per cent.
That came after the International Energy Agency reported that oil prices would remain under pressure this year as supply continues to outpace demand.
An unusual source of strength was the Canadian dollar, which was up 0.28 of a U.S. cent at 72.05 cents US.
Elsewhere on commodity markets, the April gold contract fell $4.30 to US$1.193.60 a troy ounce, copper shed six cents to US$2.03 a pound and natural gas fell four cents to US$2.10 per mmBtu.
New York indexes were down only slightly as traders weighed the latest batch of company earnings news and looked ahead to the start of two days of testimony before Congress by Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 20.96 points to 16,006.09, while the broader S&P 500 lost 3.50 points to 1,849.94 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 16.68 points at 4,267.07.