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Bank Shares Hurt Canadian Markets

Canadian stocks closed mixed as strength in the oil and gas sector and certain technology stocks such as JDS Uniphase's fiber-optics unit failed to offset weakness in the financial services, utilities and the consumer product sectors. The TSE 300 fell 30.63 to 8911.50. The S&P TSE 60 fell 1.73 to 524.03. Breadth was 647-606 positive. North American bonds fell as market participants questioned the outlook for interest-rate cuts following Greenspan's comments Tuesday that he does not see the U.S. falling into recession. The March Canadian dollar settled lower at 65.44 cents vs. the U.S. dollar. March crude settled $0.65 lower at $29.71.

European markets finished lower. The London Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed down 52.30 points, or 0.84%, to 6,176.20. In Germany, the DAX Index ended off 78.06 points, or 1.65%, to 6,479.87. Meanwhile, France's CAC 40 Index ended down 94.80 points, or 1.65%, to 5,644.23.

In Asia, the markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed up 9.36 points, or 0.07%, to 13,284.06. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, meanwhile, ended up 17.70 points, or 0.11%, to 15,860.42.

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