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Market Preview: The Silence of the Bears

Meantime, Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, highlighted the recent strength in small-caps as a bullish indicator. Both the S&P 500 and SmallCap 600 have shown similar year-to-date appreciation through Friday but the small-caps had to make an impressive comeback over the summer.

"Since June 1, however, the S&P SmallCap 600 Index has jumped 14.2% (it and six of its sector indices had recorded negative YTD performances through June 1), while its sectors have recorded price increases from as little as 6.7% for Utilities and 11.4% for Consumer Staples to greater than 20% gains for Energy and Telecom Services," he noted. "What's more, eight of the 10 S&P SmallCap 600 sectors are outpacing their large-cap siblings, except for Financials and Info Tech."

Stovall said historical performance data is pointing toward a surge by the S&P 500 to the 1500-1550 range before the end of 2012.

As for Tuesday, it's a light day for scheduled news with no standout earnings reports. Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) is slated to give its mid-quarter update though, and McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) is expected to provide its monthly sales report.

The economic calendar features the National Federation of Independent Business small-business sentiment index at 7:30 a.m. ET; the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly retail sales index at 7:45 a.m. ET; and July trade balance data at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The consensus view for the trade balance, according to Briefing.com, is for a deficit of $44 billion, slightly wider than June's deficit of $42.9 billion.

And finally, Shuffle Master (SHFL) was slumping in Monday's after-hours session after the Las Vegas gaming equipment supplier missed Wall Street's earnings expectations for its fiscal third-quarter results.

The company posted a profit of $10.4 million, or 18 cents a share, on revenue of $63.4 million for the three months ended in July, up slightly from year-ago earnings of $9.1 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenue of $58.3 million. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 20 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $67.9 million.

Shuffle Master shares were last quoted at $14.38, down 6.8%, on volume of nearly 450,000, according to Nasdaq.com.

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