Canadian stocks closed mixed, with major averages lower but well up from session lows as investors treated a profit warning from JDS Uniphase (JDSU ) as a "buy on the news" event.
The Toronto Stock Exchange 300 fell 25.15 to 9158.20 after falling to a session low of 9076.48. Industrial products shares and oil & gas shares rose, but major indexes were pressured by weak Royal Bank (RY ), which is expanding into the U.S. with a $2.3 billion stock purchase of North Carolina-based Centura Banks (CBC ) Breadth was 773-480 positive.
Canadian government bonds were little changed; investors were waiting for the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting next week, when a 50-basis point rate cut is widely expected.
European equities were hit by Ericsson's (ERICY ) decision to pull out of mobile-phone production after a lower sales and profit outlook, and Belgium brewer Interbrew's forecast of a US$1.1 billion charge for the failed takeover of the U.K. brewery Bass. In contrast, Cap Gemini advanced after saying it expected 2001 revenue to grow 14%, but this not enough to counteract the negative bias to bourses. The FTSE 100, CAC 40 and DAX are all down, although less than 1%, but the Swedish OMX seriously underperformed, losing 4.3% in the session so far.
Losses in the tech sector led the Tokyo market south on Friday as investors took trading cues from the 3.7% Nasdaq slide Thursday. The Nikkei 225 was down 0.8% at 13,696. That was the fourth-straight session that it closed below the key 14,000 level, as the market continues to hold out for the LDP to deliver on measures to shore up the ailing stock market following the resignation Tuesday of economics minister Fukushiro Nukaga. Hong Kong markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.