Tech Gloom Hits Canadian Shares

Germany's key index falls on lower machinery orders; techs and telecoms pull Japan's Nikkei lower

Canadian stocks finished mixed, with major indexes lower, as the tech-driven wreck continued to cast a pall of gloom over North American equity markets. The TSE 300 fell 61.72 points to 7444.80, pressured by losses in Industrial Products, Utilities, Financial Services and mining-related issues. Pipelines were the only subindex finishing with a gain on the session. Breadth was 650-559 positive. Government of Canada bonds closed lower in quiet trade; there were no economic releases to guide activity. The Canadian dollar was lower vs. the U.S. dollar. Energy and precious metals futures closed lower.

In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index finished off 25.60 points, or 0.46%, to 5,588.40 amid uncertainties about economic strength and whether the Bank of England will cut rates again soon. In Germany, the DAX Index closed down 61.78 points, or 1.06%, to 5,879.30, amid reports Germany machinery orders fell at 5% annual rate in February. In Paris, the CAC 40 closed off 7.49 points, or 0.15%, to 5,157.92.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed down 5.04% at 13,072.36 and the TOPIX 3.9% at 1,285.20. The net losers were telecom majors and technology shares. Other key sectors suffered losses across the board as well. Japan's five largest automobile manufacturers closed down, as did securities houses and banks. An S&P technical analyst said the decline was a correction, and the market should return to an upward trend. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 173.52, or 1.35%, to 12677.89.

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