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Market Preview: A Cautious Advance


Of course, a negative turn in the economic data or else another bout of turbulence from Europe could throw a wrench in the works but investors seem to have made some peace with those concerns, even taking the weak earnings season -- profits are down 2.6% year-over-year excluding the financials so far -- in stride.

"The market has climbed a very slippery wall of worry since early June, rising nearly 9%, and taking all 10 sectors up from 5.9% to 13.6%," Stovall wrote. "We think there is more upside ahead. Yet the advance has been a cautious one, as the higher yielding, more defensive sectors have led the way. If the trailing 12-month relative performance charts are any indication of things to come, however, investors may become more willing to stray from safety to cyclicality."

For its part, TrimTabs noted two semi-positives about the market environment over the weekend, pointing out that stock buybacks totaled $50.2 billion in July vs. a paltry $13.6 billion total for corporate selling, which reflects net insider selling and new offerings. But the firm remains skeptical about where the recovery goes from here.

"We believe the risks for the economy are firmly tilted to the downside," wrote the firm in its Weekly Liquidity Review research report. "The Eurozone debt crisis and the approaching 'fiscal cliff' are already depressing confidence, and the Fed is out of bullets to stimulate the real economy. Printing more money to jack up asset prices will do a lot more for money shufflers and wealthy people than it will for typical households and businesses."

As for Tuesday's scheduled news, while it may seem like everyone is on vacation in August, the good folks at (PCLN) are keeping busy with the company's second-quarter report.

The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earnings of $7.36 a share in the June-ended period on revenue of $1.35 billion from the online travel reservation company. In the same period last year, Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline earned $5.49 a share on revenue of $1.10 billion.

The stock has been an exceptional performer in 2012, rising more than 35% so far outpace the broad market, although it's down roughly 13% since peaking for the past year at $774.96 on April 10. The forward price-to-earnings ratio sits at 17.1X vs. 13.5X for the S&P 500 as of Friday's close.

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