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TORONTO — The Canadian dollar and Toronto Stock Exchange continued to retreat in early trading today as the price of oil traded below US$27 a barrel for the first time since September 2003. After 15 minutes of trading, Canada's oil-sensitive loonie was down 0.13 of a cent at 71.64 cents US and the S&P/TSX composite index was down 170.14 points or 1.4 per cent at 12,015.58. The benchmark oil futures contract for March was at US$26.74, down 71 cents, and had been as low as $26.22 earlier in the day. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 232.03 points or 1.5 per cent at 15,682.71, the broader S&P 500 composite index declined 25.40 points to 1,826.46 and the Nasdaq composite lost 46.00 points to 4,237.59. Elsewhere in commodities, the April gold contract rose $48.50 to US$1,243.10 an ounce, March copper was down half a cent at US$2.02 a pound the March contract for natural gas was up 1.1 cents at US$2.06.