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Canadian Stocks Rally

With war looming -- and ahead of President Bush's 8:00 ET speech tonight -- a sudden and powerful short-covering rally lifted Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX index higher by 102.1 points, or 1.6%, to 6406.6.

European stock markets ended higher as U.S. markets advanced. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index gained 120.5 points, or 3.35%, to 3,722.3, as investors braced for a U.S. and British invasion of Iraq now that diplomacy has run its course.

France's CAC 40 index added 91.72 points, or 3.35%, to 2,831.73. In Germany, the DAX index was up 83.93 points, or 3.49%, to 2,487.12. Earlier there was talk that the German economic picture remains dark, as the Bundesbank says the stock market slide hurts spending and that the economy might face more contraction.

In other news, the European Commission cut its economic growth forecast to about 1% from 1.8%, and called on central bankers to reduce interest rates in case a war against Iraq deals a further blow to consumer and business confidence, according to wire reports.

Asian markets finished lower Monday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index fell 131.05 points, or 1.64%, to 7,871.64, near a 20-year low, due to renewed fears about imminent war. In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index lost 152.01 points, or 1.7%, to 8,804.16.

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