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Canada's benchmark TSE 300 spent the day in negative
territory and closed with a 50-point loss to 7,818.10. Of the 14
subindices, 11 closed down -- led by the Industrials and Financials. Gold also came under pressure despite the +US$1 bounce in spot gold. Nortel -- the past "darling" of the Toronto stock market -- is releasing its earnings after the bell, as well as some key U.S. technology stocks, and these reports will be a factor on Friday. Also, Friday is an options expiration day.
European stock markets finished lower. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index closed down 34.50 points, or 0.66%, to 5,229.40, as investors pondered the new U.K. budget and tax proposals.
In France, the CAC 40 lost 8.47 points, or 0.18%, to 4588.83. And in Germany, the DAX Index fell 57 points, or 1.1%, to 5,262 amid a lower U.S. market and uncertainties over U.S. economic strength.
In Asia , the markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei gained 32.02 points, or 0.28% to close at 11,575.73 as telecom, retailers and other market heavyweight stocks rose on the heels of continued buy-orders from domestic pension funds, but technology shares sank on earnings jitters prior to Microsoft's announcement of results. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng surged 126.57 points, or 1.14%, to close at 11,217.15.