Scoreboard: High expectations

European markets reached fresh seven-year highs on reports detailing the ECB's proposed bond buying package, while Wall Street wavered and the Bank of Canada shocked with a rate cut.

In US economic data, housing starts rose by 4.4 per cent to a 1.089 million annual rate in December, above forecasts for a result near 1.04 million. Chain store sales rose by 3 per cent in the latest week on a year ago, down from 3.8 per cent on the previous week. The weekly mortgage market index rose by 14.2 per cent with refinancing up 22.3 per cent while the purchase index fell by 2.5 per cent.

Bank of Canada cut its key policy rate by a quarter point to 0.75 per cent, believing that low oil prices are negative for the country.

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