Stocks Inch Higher as Europe Gains

Stocks are trying to hold their ground after a strong Italian bond auction eased worries about the debt-laden country.

S&P 500 futures are up slightly and have been rising in the last hour. European markets are mostly higher by about half a percent, following gains by most Asian markets overnight. Energy futures are climbing as well.

While Italy’s elections spooked investors earlier this week with the specter of a divided government, unable to make needed reforms, strong demand caused bond yields fell in today’s debt sale. Attention will continue to focus on the political realm as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses the Senate Banking Committee today and the possibility of forced spending cuts loom in Washington.

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