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What’s happening in financial markets now

On Monday, North American markets plunged in the first full day of trading following the credit rating downgrade of the United States, as investors looked for safer bets at a time of extreme financial uncertainty.

The TSX shed 491.75 points to close down 4.04 per cent. It has now lost 9.85 per cent over the past five days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 634.76 points and closed down 5.55 per cent. It is down 10.9 per cent over five days.

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The S&P 500 closed down 6.66 per cent on Monday.

Gold soared $61.40 (U.S.), or 3.7 per cent, to settle at $1,713.20. It reached a record high of $1,723.40 an ounce during the day.

U.S. crude traded down $5.57 to settle at $81.31 a barrel, the lowest close since Nov. 23. It then dropped as low as $80.17 a barrel in post settlement activity.

The Canadian dollar fell more than 1 cent to close just a shade above parity with the U.S. dollar.

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