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Markets plunge again

The Toronto Stock Exchange took another dive Friday after a 436-point plummet a day earlier.

Stronger-than-expected job numbers out of the United States improved the outlook for Wall Street Friday, but the S&P/TSX composite index plunged more than 400 points before closing down 217.9 points or about 1.8 per cent to 12,162.17.

“It’s total irrationality it seems to me. We talk about stock market fear and greed – we’ve got more fear than anything at the moment,” said Fred Ketchen of ScotiaMcleod.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average, which traded in a range of 400 points during the day, closed up 61 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 11,445.

Job numbers released in Canada on Friday showed the national unemployment rate fell to 7.2 per cent. Just over 7,000 new positions were created last month — less than half of what economists had expected.

Concern over the U.S. slipping into recession again and the worsening debt crisis in Europe, particularly in Spain and Italy, has sparked a massive sell-off in the financial markets.

In overseas trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average slid 3.7 per cent Friday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 4.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index dove 2.2 per cent.

The FTSE in London dropped 2.24 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX slid 1.95 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 went up 1.22 per cent Friday.

In Toronto, the recent slide is proving stressful for those who work on Bay Street, or have money in the Canadian market.

“What we’re doing right now is just stepping away for a little while and just taking a breather…it gets kind of tense,” said commercial banker Rudy Aquino.

“I think it was $34,000 [I lost yesterday] in one go…But if you take it out, you’re loosing. You should stick around, those who can stick around. Patience is a flower that doesn’t grow in everybody’s garden, but you have to grow it,” said Veejay Sharma.

There was a bit of good news for Canadians – the dollar closed Friday up 0.15 of a cent to 102.24 cents US.

With files from The Canadian Press