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North American stock markets continued to rise on anticipation of U.S. interest rate cuts, sending gold prices to a three-and-a-half month high while oil prices plummeted.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 46.42 points to 16,212.66.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 207.39 points at 25,539.57. The S&P 500 index was up 22.88 points at 2,826.15, while the Nasdaq composite was up 48.36 points at 7,575.48.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of US74.62¢ compared with an average of US74.55¢ on Tuesday.

The July crude contract was down US$1.80 at US$51.68 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was down 3.8¢ at US$2.38 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was up US$4.90 at US$1,333.60 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 4.6¢ at US$2.62 a pound.