European Stocks Rally

Improved German business sentiment boosts Europe equities; Canada jumps on financial services merger; Asia finishes lower

European stock markets ended higher after a report showed that German business confidence gained for the first time in four months. In Germany, the DAX Index jumped 158.57 points, or 3.23%, to 5,067.99. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed with a gain of 75.30 points, or 1.49%, to 5,136.30. In France, the CAC 40 index gained 145.15 points, or 3.34%, to 4,485.17.

Canadian markets ended higher on news of a C$7.3 billion takeover by Sun Life Financial Services of Canada of Clarica Life Insurance Co. Financial services led gains on the news. Canada's TSE benchmark stock index finished higher at 7,515.40, up 89.72 points, or 1.21%.

In Asia, the markets finished mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei lost 188.30 points, or 1.79% to close at 10,323.35 as the unwinding of shares by banks and insurance companies drove stocks lower despite a lack of any overall bearish news. Technology shares, as a result of end-of-year sales and unwinding, failed to benefit from the yen's fall in value to its weakest level in three years Friday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was virtually unchanged, losing 0.33 point to close at 11,465.78.

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