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Canada Stocks Drop at Close

Canada's benchmark TSE 300 closed down 57.8 points to 7,784.50. The oil sector dropped after a key energy company warned that first quarter earnings would be $11 million Canadian dollars less that expected. But it was not just the oil sector. Of the 14 subindices, 11 closed down. The focus on Friday will be on the North American employment reports. Standard & Poor's thinks the data results must meet or beat expectations in order for a stock market rebound to take place.

European markets ended lower. In London, oil stocks led the decline. The FTSE 100 index was off 38.30 points, or 0.73%, at 5,209.50 although the UK services index rose to 53.8 in March from 52.1 in February. UK housing prices rose 0.9% in March, making some start to worry about inflation.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index was off 93.95 points, or 2.03%, at 4,538.31.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index fell 26.89 points, or 0.51%, to 5,254.95 following reports that the EuroZone PMI services indexes rose but industrial production fell, raising questions about the health of the economic recovery.

Asian markets closed with losses. In Tokyo, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed off 21.51 points, or 0.19%, at 11,379.20 dragged down by Advantest, which is reportedly expected to post its second-straight consolidated operating loss in fiscal 2002.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was off 2.59 points, or 0.02%, at 10,831.37.

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