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Canadian Stocks Drop on Corporate Profit Woes

Canadian stocks closed mostly lower as worries about corporate profits, and if a recovery in earnings will be later rather than sooner continued to dominate the market. The TSE 300 fell 123.12 to 8957.60, pressured by losses in industrial products and utilities. Consumer products shares were also lower as QLT Inc. was hit by ratings downgrades and estimate cuts. Breadth was 676-585 positive. Government of Canada bonds closed higher, helped by gains in Treasuries as equities fall, and as expectations build for rate cut from the Bank of Canada. Oil futures were lower. The March Canadian dollar was higher vs. the U.S. dollar.

European markets ended lower. The London Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index ended down 41.80 points, or 0.67%, at 6,164.30. In Germany, the DAX Index closed down 139.74 points, or 2.11%, at 6,497.07 amid profit taking. Meanwhile, France's CAC 40 finished down 61.10 points, or 1.06%, at 5,712.36.

In Asia, the markets finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed up 284.60 points, or 2.17%, at 13,422.83, after the Bank of Japan cut its official discount rate to lift its sagging economy. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, meanwhile, ended down 36.12 points, or 0.23%, at 15,873.28.

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