Stock markets close higher as loonie slides on oil price strength in

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed higher as lower oil prices and strong U.S. earnings results weighed on the Canadian dollar.The loonie closed at 76.07 cents US, dropping 0.35 of a U.S. cent from Thursday’s close. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX index rose 34.83 points to 14,600.66.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 53.62 points to 18,570.85, the broader S&P 500 composite index gained 9.86 points at 2,175.03 and the Nasdaq composite added 26.26 points at 5,100.16.In commodities, the September crude contract fell 56 cents at US$44.19 per barrel and September natural gas was up eight cents at US$2.74 per mmBTU.The August gold contract dropped $7.60 to US$1,323.40 an ounce and September copper contracts fell two cents to US$2.24 a pound. read more