Canada Stocks Inch Lower

Europe markets end lower; Asia stocks finish higher

Canada's benchmark TSE 300 traded in a choppy manner and closed down a mere 2.1 points to 7,908.20. U.S. indices were also choppy but closed on the plus side, a support. Volume will remain light as this is "March Break" (Ontario school break). Five of gthe 14 subindices closed up, led by the Golds (spot gold up US$1.10), while the Financial services sector lead the other nine subindices lower.

European markets finished lower. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 26.80 points, or 0.51%, to 5,258.90. The biggest contributors to the FTSE weakness included Vodafone, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, HBSC Holdings and Royal Bank of Scotland. In France, the CAC 40 lost 42.36 points, or 0.92%, to 4,586.75. And in Germany, the DAX Index was lower by 18.88 points, or 0.35%, to 5,340.67. Among the losers were Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Infineon and SAP.

Asia markets ended higher. The Nikkei was off 33.51 points, or 0.28%, to 11,919.30, which was supported by growing optimism over a U.S. economic recovery. Also aiding sentiment was a shift in foreign investment capital back into Japan, and technical buy-backs related to new restrictions on short sales. In Hong Kong, the market added 85.64 points, or 0.76%, to 11,318.87.

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