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Canada Shares Hold onto Gains

Canada's benchmark TSE 300 held onto gains, supported by bullish enthusiasm for gold stocks and stocks in the oil and gas sector. But tension in the Middle East remained a chief concern throughout the day, tempering stock gains. The TSE 300 added 4.90 points, or 0.62%, to 7,893.40.

European markets closed lower. In London, the FTSE 100 index was off 20.40 points, or 0.39%, at 5,251.40 as the March CIPS manufacturing index rose less than expected, to 50.7, but still came in above the 50.2 reading in February. The survey points to a continued pick-up in manufacturing conditions.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index was down 60.69 points, or 1.29%, at 4,627.33 following a report that French consumer confidence remained at a 5-month low in March.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index was off 86.21 points, or 1.60%, at 5,311.08 as EuroZone inflation data rises. Higher oil prices due to Middle East tensions were boosting prices.

Asian markets closed mixed. In Tokyo, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 175.79 points, or 1.59%, at 11,204.49 led by exporter shares on the back of optimism over the U.S. economy.

But Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was off 154.88, or 1.40%, at 10,878.04.

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