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    Shares of Petrobras   ticked down in morning trading Tuesday after investors expanded their lawsuit against the Brazilian state-owned energy company, which has been dealing with an alleged corruption scandal for months. The investors claim that PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditor of Petrobras, turned a "blind eye" to the alleged fraud at the company and "ignored obvious red flags."

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    Shares of Petrobras   ticked down in morning trading Tuesday after investors expanded their lawsuit against the Brazilian state-owned energy company, which has been dealing with an alleged corruption scandal for months. The investors claim that PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditor of Petrobras, turned a "blind eye" to the alleged fraud at the company and "ignored obvious red flags."

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    * Saudi Arabia drops in final hours of Iran nuclear talks. * DAMAC's strong Q1 sales lift spirits in Dubai. * UAE's TAQA tumbles ahead of results, possible North Sea strike. * Kuwait's Jazeera Airways jumps on strong results, cash rewards. * Property, cement stocks lift Egypt. By Olzhas Auyezov.

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    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2723 or 78.60 U.S. cents * Bond prices mostly higher across the maturity curve By Solarina Ho TORONTO, March 31 - The Canadian dollar weakened against the greenback on Tuesday but was well off its early lows after data showed Canada's economic performance in January was stronger than foreseen.

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    Canada's main stock index opened lower on Tuesday, with resource stocks leading broad declines and Teck Resources (TCK) falling more than 8 percent after it denied it was in merger talks with Antofagasta Plc (ANFGF). The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 57.58 points, or 0.4 percent, at 14,850.81 shortly after the open.

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    Stock futures pointed to a lower opening for Canadian stocks on Tuesday after data showed that the economy shrank 0.1 percent in January. Weakness in the service sector more than offset growth in goods production, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. June futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.19 percent at 8.30 a.m. ET.

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    The Canadian dollar pared earlier session losses against its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday, strengthening after data showed January growth was better than feared. The Canadian dollar was trading at $1.2724 to the U.S. dollar, or 78.59 U.S. cents, roughly half a cent stronger than immediately before the data was released, but still weaker than Monday's finish at C$1.2693, or 78.78 U.S. cents.

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    Stock futures pointed to a lower opening for Canada's main stock index on Tuesday ahead of monthly reading on economic growth for January. Canada's gross domestic product in is expected to have declined by 0.2 percent as the impact from cheap oil prices starts to bite, according to analysts polled by Reuters. June futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.31 percent at 7.30 a.m. ET.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.4 pct, up 16 pct in Q1. European shares fell on Tuesday, taking a breather from their sharp rally of the past three months sparked by the drop in the euro, with Germany's DAX index set to record its biggest first-quarter gain since its creation in mid-1988.

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    China's housing bubble is starting to pop, so, right on cue, its stock bubble is starting to re-inflate.Now they're nowhere near their 2007 highs—in fact, they're barely halfway there—but Chinese stocks are still looking plenty frothy right now. They've actually, as BNP Paribas (BNPQF)' Richard Iley points out, been the world's best performing asset class the last nine months, up almost 80 percent. And that's despite the fact that China's growth has slowed to a 20-year low and its industrial profits just fell 8 percent.Why are stocks up so much if the economy isn't? Well, there aren't a lot of other places for Chinese investors to put their money. The government doesn't let them move it overseas—although some people manage to get around this by pretending to pay more for imports—and there aren't a lot of options at home. Banks are only allowed to pay people paltry interest rates, so that state-owned companies can borrow for less. And the property market, which had looked like the economy's one good store of value, has become so overbuilt that not even the government's attempts to prop it up, like making it easier to buy a second home, has stopped its boom from turning into a bust. Indeed, new home prices were down 5.1 percent in January.So stocks have won by default, with a little help from the government. China's state media told people over and over and over again last summer that stocks looked cheap, and eventually they listened. New stock accounts, as you can see in the chart below from BNP Paribas (BNPQF), exploded in the last six months or so. It's gotten to the point that, unlike before when stocks were something only people who'd gone to school bought, over 67 percent of China's new stock investors have less than a high school education.But it's not just dumb money that's pouring into stocks. It's dumb borrowed money, too. Margin accounts, which let you take out loans to buy stocks, more than doubled in 2014. And to give you an idea how important this has become to the market, well, just take another look at this chart. Notice how new stock accounts briefly collapsed at the start of the year? That was because the government said it wouldn't let the three biggest brokerages open any new margin accounts for the next three months, so nobody wanted to open any stock accounts at all. As a result, the Shanghai Index fell 7.7 percent in a single day. It more than bounced back, though, once people realized that they could still buy stocks with borrowed money now that China's shadow banks—basically unregulated lenders—had stopped putting money into the faltering property market and started putting it into the flaming-hot stock market instead.The thing about bubbles is they can go on a lot longer than you think. And the longer they do, the dumber you feel for not jumping in sooner. But since no one wants to feel like a sucker, eventually everyone, or close enough to it, joins the frenzy until it really does look like "this time is different." It never is, though. Now, as long as China's interest rates keep falling, which they should for awhile, people should still be able to afford to borrow money to buy stocks with. And that could push China's stocks up a lot more, especially given that price-earnings ratios are still far below their bubbly 2007 levels. But it's not sustainable for stocks to soar at the same time that growth is drifting down lower and lower—which means, at some point, it's going to end.The question is what will happen to China's economy if there isn't a stock or housing bubble to invest in. That's an answer we don't want to know.




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    Despite the volatility seen in recent months, the strong market still has room left for growth, according to Scott Minerd, chairman of investments and global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners, an investment firm that manages $220 billion in assets.  . Must Read: 11 Best Small-Cap Technology Stocks That Could Hit It Big in 2015.

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    Euro zone shares are enjoying their best first-quarter performance in 17 years as global investors pour money back into the region on expectations the European Central Bank's asset-buying scheme will spark a corporate profit renaissance.

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    European markets lacked direction Tuesday morning, as weakness in Asia and worries over Greece and deflation seemed to weigh on sentiment even as the economy in Germany showed continued strength. Germany's unemployment fell to a record low of 6.4% in March, while retail sales were up 3.6% in February compared with a year earlier. Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Stock Buys.

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    Asian stocks ended in mixed fashion Tuesday, as the positive mood from the prior-day's Shanghai-led rally induced both profit-taking and stoked further enthusiasm among investors. Australia's S&P/ASX200 ended up 1.8% at 5,891.50, while New Zealand's NZX50 was also 0.2% higher at 5,833.985. The pair were seen helped by Barclays pulling forward its expectation for the next cut in interest rates by the RBA to April, from May.

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    The euro fell by over one percent against the dollar and the yen to hit ten-day lows on Tuesday, hurt by worries over whether Greece can secure financial aid before it runs out of cash in three weeks. Traders also cited a media report on the near-collapse of a big German lender as weighing on the single currency.

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    * Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 pct. * The index set for best quarter since 2009. * A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK down 10 pct on dividend pay. By Atul Prakash. European shares extended gains on Tuesday and headed for their best quarterly performance in several years, with Kingfisher leading the market higher after announcing it planned to sell about 60 B&Q stores in Britain.

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    * Euro set for almost 11 pct quarterly fall vs dollar. * Dollar on track for biggest quarterly gain since 2008. * Dollar seen trading in 118-122 range vs yen in near-term. By Jemima Kelly.

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    European shares edged higher in early trading on Tuesday and headed for their best quarterly performance in several years, with Kingfisher leading the market higher following its plans to sell about 60 B&Q stores in Britain.