Stock indexes fall as caution reigns

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Stocks are poised to decline from historical highs today as caution reigns in global markets.

S&P 500 futures have been weakening in the last hour and are now down by about 0.25 percent, following similar losses in Europe. Asia was mostly lower as well, led by a 2.5 percent plunge in Tokyo's Nikkei index.

Investors have spent the last four sessions debating whether to keep buying after the index returned to a five-year intraday high or to wait for a pullback. Traders appear to be waiting for the oncoming wave of quarterly reports, with a heavy focus on banks and other financial names this week.

Another factor weighing on sentiment today is a snapback rally by the Japanese yen, which tends to move in the opposite direction as stocks and commodities. The yen is higher across the board today, corresponding with drops in the euro, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar.

Oil has relinquished small gains this morning, while copper and other metals are down by 0.5 percent to 1 percent. Most agricultural foodstuffs are modestly higher.

Financials are mostly lower after reporting results. JP Morgan fell 1 percent after its profit beat expectations but revenue missed consensus. U.S. Bancorp issued similar numbers, though its net income may not be comparable with estimates because it was affected by unusual items. Bank of New York Mellon fell 3 percent.  

Goldman Sachs bucked the trend with top-line and bottom-line results that were much better than expected, sending its shares higher by 2 percent. Citigroup and Bank of America follow with their results tomorrow morning.

In other company news, Boeing is down about 4 percent after major Japanese airlines grounded its new Dreamliner after one of planes was forced to make an emergency landing. Chipotle Mexican Grill fell about 9 percent after pre-announcing weak fourth-quarter results, while Vera Bradley may climb after raising guidance.

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