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Market Preview: Hating the Rally

For his part, Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist at S&P Capital IQ, thinks some of the money currently camping out in bonds is likely to end up helping push equities to new highs.

"The market doubters seem to be lurking everywhere, with consistent calls for recessions, bear markets, and even market crashes," he wrote on Friday. "This, in our view, is extremely bullish, and will probably leave many on the sidelines shaking their heads. We believe all the sideline money, i.e., the enormous funds in money markets and Treasurys, is ample fuel for the stock market to post outsized gains as rising prices force many bears to capitulate and enter the market."

Arbeter believes the pressure is starting to build on investors who have so far resisted getting into stocks during this recent run higher.

"Generally, those that are underweight equities during this advancing phase are left frustrated waiting for a decent-sized pullback that never materializes," he said. "This type of consistent push higher, if it occurs, will be a very welcome sight for those already in and calling for higher prices, and much easier to predict from a technician's standpoint. We see the S&P 500 heading up to 1,450 by September, 1,500 by October, and potentially as high as 1,600 by the first quarter of 2013."

Regardless of how the rest of 2012 plays out, the recent decision of Bill Gross, PIMCO's bond king, to predict the coming death of equities is looking particularly ill-timed.

As for Tuesday's scheduled news, Home Depot (HD - Get Report) is the big morning earnings report, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 97 cents a share in the July-ended period on revenue of $20.74 billion. In the same period a year earlier, the Atlanta-based home improvement products retailer earned 86 cents a share on revenue of $20.23 billion.

Last time around, Home Depot reported in-line results for its fiscal first quarter, posting earnings of 65 cents a share on revenue of $17.81 billion with same-store sales rising 5.8%. The company also lifted its fiscal 2012 outlook at the time, forecasting earnings of $2.90 a share, an increase of 17%, with sales growing 4.6%.

Shares of the Dow component are up more than 25% so far in 2012, outperforming a gain of 7.8% for the blue-chip index. The stock hit a 52-week high of $54.28 on July 27, and closed Monday's regular session at $52.82.

The sell side is bullish ahead of the report with 19 of the 30 analysts covering the stock at strong buy (9) or buy (11) and the median 12-month price target at $57. Investors will be looking to hear more about the company's agreement last week to acquire U.S. Home Systems, an Irving, Texas-based maker of bath and kitchen refacing products, for a little less than $100 million.

While not counted among Home Depot's bulls, Jefferies likes the shares better than it does those of rival Lowe's (LOW - Get Report) ahead of earnings.
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