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Canadian Stocks End Higher on Strength in Financials

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.

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