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Loonie slips ahead of Fed’s expected stimulus move

Canadian dollars.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Canadian dollar closed lower Wednesday as traders took some profits from a four-day rally that pushed the loonie to a 13-month high.

The loonie fell 0.35 of a cent to $1.0240 (U.S.) after charging ahead more than 1.8 cents since last Wednesday. Traders have anticipated that last week's disappointing U.S. jobs data for August convinced the Federal Reserve that the economy needs another round of economic stimulus.

Such measures could include a third round of quantitative easing, which would see the Fed print more money to buy up bonds in order to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing. Such a move would also likely drive the greenback lower.

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Traders hope the Fed will make an announcement on further stimulus Thursday at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on interest rates.

However, markets could be in for a severe disappointment. Some analysts believe that the Fed will do nothing more than reassert that it's willing to do more, especially as a number of its policy makers may be reluctant to do something dramatic in the middle of the U.S. presidential campaign.

The U.S. currency has also lost value over the last few days after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi unveiled a program to buy government bonds as a way of easing borrowing rates for the hardest-hit members of the euro zone such as Spain and Italy. The move served to lessen risk and drive up the value of the euro.

Meanwhile, traders were relieved after Germany's high court on Wednesday rejected calls to block Europe's permanent rescue fund.

Opponents had challenged Germany's ratification of the European Stability Mechanism, which is a new, permanent €500-billion ($645-billion) bailout fund for the 17 countries that use the euro. They had argued that it violated the country's constitution and sought an injunction preventing the country's president from signing the legislation into law.

Germany's ratification of the ESM is key, because the fund cannot work without the economic powerhouse.

Commodity prices were weak.

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Oil prices shed early gains after the U.S. government said supplies of oil in that country rose last week. The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped 16 cents to $97.01 a barrel.

Analysts had expected that the U.S. Energy Department would report that U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 3.3 million barrels.

Copper prices dipped about half a cent with the December contract ending the day at $3.6925 a pound. The metal, viewed as an economic barometer as it is used in so many applications, had run up 18 cents over the last three sessions.

The December bullion contract faded $1.20 to $1,733.70 an ounce.

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