Canadian stocks closed solidly higher after choppy trading early in the session, as Financial Services propelled major averages higher after Bank of Canada cut bank rate to 5.75% from 6%. The TSE closed 300 up 147.85 to 9268.80 as Industrial Products rebounded, helped by strong NASDAQ, rate-sensitive Utilities and banks rose, Oil & Gas posted gains despite weak crude. Breadth was 735-485 positive. GoC bonds closed near session highs. March Canadian dollar is lower at 66.21 cents vs. the U.S. dollar. S&P MMS notes rumors that the Fed might cut rates only 25 bp at its Jan. 31 meeting.
European markets were trading lower. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed down 17.30 points, or 0.28%, at 6,214.70, amid uncertainty whether the Bank of England will ease credit any time soon. In Germany, the DAX Index was down 12.39 points, or 0.19%, at 6,687.39 on profit taking. Meanwhile, France's CAC 40 finished off 43.03 points, or 0.73%, at 5,839.73, as French consumer spending unexpectedly fell 0.3% in December.
Markets in Asia finished lower. Japan's Nikkei ended down 47.76 points, or 0.34%, at 13,984.66. Sentiment was dampened by the resignation of economics minister Fukushiro Nukaga over allegations he accepted money from scandal-plagued insurer KSD. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished with a loss of 55.06 points, or 0.34%, at 16,044.21.