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Stocks hovering before hectic week

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Stocks are hovering near multi-year peaks as investors prepare for a week teeming with important news.

S&P 500 futures are little-changed after the index closed Friday at its highest level since December 2007. European indexes are also roughly flat but have been gaining in the last hour.

Asian trading was mixed overnight. Shanghai rallied more than 2 percent after Chinese industrial profits surged in December, but Japan's Nikkei fell almost 1 percent as the yen rallied.

This week brings a heavy roster of news events, including the Federal Reserve's interest-rate decision, gross domestic product, monthly employment data, and corporate earnings. While most of the headlines have been positive so far, investors must now decide whether to put new money to work with the S&P 500 up 6 percent in the last month or wait for a pullback. It's also sitting at 1500, which could have psychological importance.

Foreign-exchange markets reflect a potentially cautious turn. Currencies associated with risk--the euro, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar--are all down, while the Japanese yen is higher across the board. Oil and gold are fighting back from earlier losses, while copper and most agricultural foodstuffs are higher.

In company-specific news, industrial blue chip Caterpillar is up almost 1 percent after its fourth-quarter profit beat analyst forecasts but revenue came up short. JoS. A Bank Clothiers is down about 16 percent after warning that full-year results will miss expectations.

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