Canada Shares Close Higher

Europe stocks post solid gains; Japan's Nikkei climbs a half percent

Canadian stocks closed firmly higher as bargain hunting and short covering provided a boost to beaten-down high techs, as a threat of a winter storm in the Northeast lifted energy and utility stocks. The TSE 300 rose 92.45 to 8099.30 on gains in Financial Services, Oil & Gas, and Utilities issues. Breadth was 812-409 positive. Energy futures were higher as NYMEX closed early, as equity trading volume was light ahead of the storm -- whose intensity was debated throughout the day. Government of Canada bonds were mostly lower in light trading. Precious metals also closed lower. The March Canadian dollar was flat vs. the U.S. dollar.

European stocks closed in positive territory. In London, the Financial Times index 100, ended up 72.70 points, or 1.24%, to 5931.30. U.K. PMI remained firm at 57 while EuroZone readings were soft. Also, CBI reports consumer services sentiment rose to an 18-month high. In Germany, the DAX Index climbed 37.16 points, or 0.60%, to 6196.18. In France, the CAC 40 Index finished up 76.91 points, or 1.45%, to 5368.83.

Asian markets closed higher. In Japan, the Nikkei finished up 60.36 points, or 0.49%, to 12322.16. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 168.83 points, or 1.21%, to 14135.26.

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