Stocks fall on renewed European jitters

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Stocks are lower this morning amid ongoing worries in Europe and as the S&P 500 hovers near long-term highs.

Index futures are down almost half a percent and have been weaking in the last hour. Most bourses across the Atlantic are shedding a full percentage point or more. Asian markets were positive in the overnight session following a strong move yesterday in the United States.

While Cyprus is implementing control measures to stabilize its banks, the onerous terms of the arrangement -- confiscating money from large depositors -- are making investors nervous. A poor debt sale and signs of continued political disarray in Italy are qadding to the concerns.

The S&P 500 has spent the last two weeks near its all-time high from October 2007, supported by strong momentum and economic conditions in the U.S. The situation has been weaker in Europe, where the euro has slid steadily since the beginning of February and benchmarks like the CAC-40 and German DAX have been falling since mid-March.

There are no major economic reports or corporate earnings today.

Commodities and currencies are painting a broadly bearish picture as assets associated with risk get sold. The euro continued to fall and is now down to its lowest levels since November. The Canadian dollar and Australian dollar also declined, while the safe-haven Japanese yen is higher across the board. Oil, copper and precious metals are all lower. Agricultural foodstuffs are mixed.

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