Stocks hover near long-term highs

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Stocks are hovering after yesterday's rally brought the S&P 500 within striking distance of a five-year high.

Futures on the benchmark index are little-changed, rebounding from earlier losses. Europe is following a similar path, with most of its markets now up by less than 0.2 percent.

Asia was mostly lower after quickening inflation in China raised worries about the world's No. 2 economy. Japan's Nikkei was the main standout, rallying 1.4 percent after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a big stimulus package. That also sent the yen lower, which can support asset prices.

The S&P 500 climbed 11 points yesterday, continuing an advance that began around the New Year. Attention has been shifting toward corporate earnings, the possibility of continued strength in the United States and accelerating growth in emerging markets such as China. The only scheduled event on today's calendar is the release of fourth-quarter results by banking giant Wells Fargo.

Commodities and foreign exchange are painting a mixed picture. The euro advanced slightly against the greenback and the Japanese yen is down against most other currencies. Australian and Canadian dollars, however, fell. (Both tend to follow sentiment toward global growth.)

Oil is down by more than 1 percent, while copper fell by half a percentage point. Gold and silver are also lower, as are most agricultural foodstuffs.

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