Canada Shares Rise on U.S. Confidence Report

Europe bourses follow U.S. higher; Asia markets sink lower

Canadian stocks closed moderately higher as higher than expected U.S. Consumer Confidence for March, which while suggesting the Fed may not cut rates intra-meeting, hints that consumers may not see the U.S. teetering on the brink of recession. The TSE 300 rose 64.70 points to 7751.30 as Industrial Products, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Financial Services shares rose. Breadth was 744-495 positive. The Canadian dollar was lower vs. the U.S. dollar. Traders reacted to the Bank of Canada's Deputy Gov. Jenkins' comments that an economic slowdown is likely to be short term. North American bonds were lower on the Consumer Confidence report.

European stocks finished higher, responding in kind to strength in the U.S. markets. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed up 151.50 points, or 2.72%, to 5,728.10. In Germany, the DAX Index gained 211.24 points, or 3.69%, to 5,938.21. In France, the CAC 40 added 110.80 points, or 2.16%, to 5,235.60.

In Asia, the markets finished sharply lower. The Nikkei lost 223.98 points, or 1.62%, to 13,638.33. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng ended off 242.59 points, or 1.87%, to 12,707.90.

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