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Storm Lifts Canada Utilities Stocks

Canadian stocks closed solidly higher after the Bank of Canada cut the bank rate from 5.75% to 5.25%. The U.S. Nasdaq Index rallied on the belief that tech shares have bottomed and that now is the time to buy. The TSE 300 rose 106.31 to 8205.60 as Industrial Products and Utilities issues gained; Financial Services fell in profit taking. Breadth was 766-456 positive. Government of Canada bonds were mixed. The BoC noted that weakening confidence may delay a recovery in the U.S., while forward momentum in Canadian domestic demand waned more abruptly than expected towards the end of 2000. The March Canadian dollar was higher at 65.07 cents vs. the U.S. dollar.

Asian equities closed sharply higher. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index gained 365.58, or 2.97%, to 12687.74. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 185.79, or 1.31%, to 14321.05.

European stocks ended higher. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed up 80.70, or 1.36%, to 6012.00. Some were encouraged by reports retail sales strong last month, that housing prices rise suggested improved economy. Germany's DAX Index ended up 69.93, or 1.12%, to 6286.31 in a carryover of Monday's rally. In France, the CAC 40 closed up 88.45, or 1.65%, to 5457.28.

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