Canada Shares Soar on Stronger Data

Europe stocks finish higher; Asia markets close lower

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX rose 75.57 points, or 1%, to 7,656.13, after first-quarter gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 6% -- much higher than the 5.4% rise expected by economists. Fourth quarter 2001 GDP was revised upward to 2.9% from 2%.

European markets closed higher. London's FTSE 100 index was up 44.30 points, or 0.88%, to 5085.10 in short covering, and on the higher U.S. opening. Recent economic data have been strong. London markets will be closed Monday and Tuesday for Queen Elizabeth's jubilee.

In Paris, the CAC-40 was higher by 14.50 points, or 0.34%, to 4,274.64 as the French Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1% in April, although the number of unemployed rose to an 18-month high.

Germany's DAX index gained 56.34 points, or 1.18% to 4,818.30 as a flash report showed European Union inflation fell 0.2% in May to a 2.0% annual rate, down from 2.4% in April. This suggests that the European Central Bank won't tighten credit next week.

Asian markets closed lower.

The Nikkei index in Japan was down 6.33 points, or 0.05%, to 11,763.70 on renewed fears over Japan's financial conditions after Moody's Investors Services downgraded the country's local currency bond rating by two notches to A2. The downgrade reflects the conclusion that the Japanese government's current and anticipated economic policies will be insufficient to prevent continued deterioration in the country's domestic debt position. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was off 78.67 points, or 0.69%, to 11,301.94.

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