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Canadian Shares Climb Ahead of Fed Meeting

Canadian stocks closed higher, led by Nortel (NT), banks and other stocks that should benefit from the 50 basis-point cut in U.S. rates seen at conclusion of Fed's policy meeting Wednesday. The Toronto Stock Exchange 300 index rose 144.01 to 9302.20, easily recouping Friday's 25.20-point loss. The S&P/TSE 60 rose 9.74 to 553.92. Breadth was 741-447 positive; gains in the financial services and industrial production sectors were offset by drops in commodity stocks. Government of Canada bonds were mixed. March Canadian $ settled higher at 66.60 cents vs. US$. March crude oil settled down $0.71 at $29.06. February gold settled down $0.10 at $262.80.

European markets finished mixed. The London Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index ended up 22.70, or 0.36%, at 6,317. In Germany, the DAX index closed up 55.76 points, or 0.83%, at 6,750.96. Meanwhile, France's CAC 40 index finished down 37.72, or 0.64%, at 5,887.90.

Markets finished higher in Asia. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed up 149.22, or 1.09%, at 13,845.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended up 55.61, or 0.35%, at 16,099.82.

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