Europe Markets Close Lower

Asia stocks end higher; Canada shares slump at close

European stock markets closed lower on Wednesday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was off 9.10 points, or 0.21%, to 4,309.40 as the market gave up early gains to security concerns in UAE and the U.S. Some 49 FTSE stocks were down and 47 were higher on turnover of 401 million shares following reports UK factory wages rose 2.4% in February and that former Bank of England head Eddie George is worried about high consumer debt.

In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 21.46 points, or 0.61%, to 3,518.45. Some 21 CAC stocks were higher and 19 were lower on turnover of 28.3 million shares. Thomson was higher. Germany's DAX index eased 2.75 points, or 0.07%, to 3,726.07 as German January construction orders fell for third consecutive month. Building industry officials said they expected 10th year of declining sales. Security concerns in U.S. and Middle East erased earlier gains. Some 18 DAX stocks were up and 11 were down on turnover of 37.7 million shares. Metro Group was higher as it expects 2005 profits to jump as much as 15%. Infineon Technologies was higher as researcher Gartner Inc. sees semiconductor surge this year.

In Asia, the equity markets finished higher. The Nikkei 225 index added 83.90 points, or 0.74%, to 11,364.99.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index advanced 89.77 points, or 0.71%, to 12,678.13.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX fell 53.67 points, or 0.63%, to 8,420.85.

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