Cisco Miss Whips Canada Stocks

Europe tech shares weaken; Japan's NTT makes solid gains

Canadian stocks closed mixed, with major indexes markedly lower as Cisco's earnings miss and its forecast for sequentially lower revenues sent shock waves throughout world equity markets. The TSE 300 fell 163.80 points to 9137.60 points as industrial products shares fell along with consumer products; financial services; and utilities, metals and minerals, offsetting rises in oil and gas shares and the gold and precious minerals sectors. Breadth was 642-604 positive. Government of Canada bonds rose, supported by losses in stocks; soft help-wanted data was supportive of the government's short end. The March Canadian dollar was lower at 66.17 cents against the U.S. dollar.

The Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index, which rose 24 Tuesday, finished Wednesday's session with a loss of 67.80 points (-1.08%) to close at 6225.60. The biggest contributors to the losses in the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, and British Telecom as techs weakened after the U.S.'s Cisco disappointed on the earnings front. The British 10-year bond yield fell 3.0 basis points to 4.815% as a flight to safety was aided by expectations that the Bank of England's monetary policy committee will cut rates 25 basis points on Thursday. The DAX Index, which rose 65 points Tuesday, is currently trading down 81.17 points (-1.21%) at 6611.86. The CAC 40, which rose 29 points yesterday, finished Wednesday's market with a loss of 100.21 points (-1.71%) to close at 5752.14.

The Nikkei 225 snapped a four-day losing streak to edge up 0.7% higher to 13,336 at the close of trade. The triumphant turnaround was led by none other than telecom giant NTT DoCoMo, up over 5%. Parent company NTT was also a big winner, up 6.2%. The rise of NTT was largely attributed to a Ministry of Finance announcement that it would not go forward with a planned sale of one million NTT shares unless the market recovered. Not so lucky were Internet plays Hikari Tsushin and Softbank, down 4.2% and 3.2%, respectively.

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