02/08/2016 04:34 EST | Updated 02/08/2017 05:12 EST

Loonie Drops, TSX Tanks As Oil Prices Fall Below US$30

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TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed down sharply on Monday, pulled down by weakness in energy and financial stocks, as oil again fell below the US$30 a barrel mark.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 228.59 points to end the day at 12,535.40. The Canadian dollar was off 0.13 of a U.S. cent to 71.77 cents US.

In the U.S, s steep sell-off in stocks got a little less bad by the end of the day, but it still left indexes down sharply for the second day in a row.

Banks and technology shares fell sharply Monday. Facebook sank 4 per cent and Amazon, which more than doubled last year, lost 3 per cent. The losses brought the Nasdaq composite index down almost 20 per cent from its record high last year.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 177, or 1.1 per cent, to 16,027. It was down as much as 401 earlier. The S&P 500 lost 26 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 1,853. The Nasdaq sank 79 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 4,283.

In good news for Canadian gold producers, the precious metal jumped 4 per cent on Monday. April gold soared $40.20 to US$1,197.90 a troy ounce.

The March contract for benchmark crude oil was down $1.20 to US$29.69 a barrel.

A number of factors have contributed to the selling on markets since the beginning of the year, including falling oil prices and the economic slowdown in China, along with concerns about the strength of the recovery in the United States.

— The Canadian Press with files from The Associated Press