TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market posted a triple-digit loss Wednesday on another wild day on global markets as the price of oil fell yet again.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the day down 159.13 points at 11,843.11, its lowest close since June 24, 2013, when it finished at 11,836.86.

It was the latest in a rarely interrupted string of down days since the Christmas break that has seen Canada's main index lose more than 10 per cent of its value.

"What we're seeing in Toronto is not a Toronto-only or Canada-centric decline, this is reflecting what we're seeing around the world," said Andrew Pyle, senior adviser and portfolio manager at Scotia Wealth Management.

New York markets were also negative but well off their worst levels of the day that at one point saw the Dow Jones industrial average shed more than 500 points.

At the close the Dow was down 249.28 points at 15,766.74, while the broader S&P 500 fell 22 points to 1,859.33 and the Nasdaq lost 5.26 points to 4,471.69.

European and Asian markets also fell. Germany's DAX closed down 2.8 per cent while France's CAC-40 and Britain's FTSE 100 were both off 3.5 per cent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index fell 3.7 per cent and is now in bear territory, down 20 per cent from its peak in June. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 3.8 per cent, while China's Shanghai composite shed one per cent of its value.

"This, to a certain extent, has become this vicious circle where one market is experiencing a rout in its equity market leading to almost a contagion effect into another market," Pyle said.

The cycle of uncertainty has roiled markets in the early weeks of 2016 and Pyle said positive indicators from earnings season or the continuing American recovery may not be enough to snap them out of it.

"When you're in this kind of a market, where there's a lot of anxiety and panic-based selling, if you want to call it that, you need more than just some good news, you need a lot of good news," he said.

On commodity markets, oil continued its recent volatility with the March contract losing $1.22 to settle at US$28.35 a barrel. Crude has slid from a high above US$105 in June 2014.

The February contract for natural gas added 2.7 cents to US$2.118 per mmBtu and the February contract for gold added $17.10 to US$1106.20 per troy ounce.

The commodity-sensitive loonie added 0.32 of a cent to 69.01 cents U.S. after the Bank of Canada said it would hold its trend-setting policy rate at 0.5 per cent.

"People had built so much of a rate cut view into this meeting that, by not cutting rates, it actually gave the Canadian dollar room to move higher," Pyle said.