stock market decline

North American stock markets sustained heavy losses with U.S. markets posting their worst start to October in more than a decade on growing fears of recession.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 136.69 points at 16,310.97.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 494.42 points at 26,078.62. The S&P 500 index was down 52.64 points at 2,887.61, while the Nasdaq composite was down 123.44 points at 7,785.25.

The Canadian dollar traded for an average of US75.22¢ compared with an average of US75.51¢ on Tuesday.

The November crude contract was down US98¢ at US$52.64 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down US3.6¢ at US$2.25 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$18.90 at US$1,507.90 an ounce and the December copper contract was up one cent at US$2.57 a pound.