North American stock markets closed lower Monday amid concerns that Ireland's application for financial assistance from its neighbours may not be the last bailout needed in Europe.

The Toronto benchmark, the S&P/TSX composite index, ended down 27.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 12,929.0.


S&P/TSX composite index 3-month chart

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 25 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 11,178.6.

The S&P 500 fell 1.9 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,197.8. The Nasdaq composite index rose 13.9 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,532.0.

After falling into a financial crisis brought on by mounting losses at three of its nationalized banks, Ireland formally requested help from its neighbours Sunday.

The rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will likely not exceed 100 billion euros ($139 billion).

The euro fell against the U.S. dollar, trading late in the day down 0.4 per cent to 1.3622. The Canadian dollar closed at 98.28 cents US, up .05 of a cent from Friday's close.

The January crude contract closed down 24 cents to $81.74 US a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the December gold contract finished up $5.50 to $1,357.80 US an ounce.

"It's been difficult for the European Union to get ahead and stay ahead of the market's concerns, despite the large sums they are clearly willing to dedicate," said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist for Prudential Fixed Income.

He said the announcement on aid for Ireland was not detailed enough to restore investor confidence.

With files from The Associated Press