NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- All this talk of debt -- ceilings or sovereign, here and abroad -- calls to mind the chorus of Tennessee Ernie Ford's classic "Sixteen Tons." "You load sixteen tons, what do you getAnother day older and deeper in debtSaint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't goI owe my soul to the company store The president and key congressional leaders supposedly worked all weekend and got virtually nowhere on a deficit reduction plan, and we're all left another day older and deeper in debt. Hopefully this game of chicken doesn't devolve much further. If it does, stock are in for plenty more days like Monday's drubbing. As for Tuesday, aside from the ongoing debt drama, the economic calendar is fairly thin. The National Federation of Independent Business will issue its small-business optimism index at 7:30 a.m. ET. Not exactly an earth shaker on Wall Street but Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, says the survey is an important indicator of where the economy is heading. "The headline index has slipped in each of the past three months, following the spring spike in oil prices," he writes. "But the declines have become progressively smaller, with the index down just 0.3 points in May, and we have been encouraged too by the leveling-off in the national ISM indexes, both manufacturing and non-manufacturing." Shepherdson expects the index to rise to 92.5 from 90.9, an outcome he says would be a "clear step in the right direction." Next up is the trade balance data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus is calling for a deficit of $44 billion, but Shepherdson thinks it could swell to $47 billion because of the influence of oil imports, although he believes exports of goods, excluding oil and aircraft, are on the rise. The market will also get weekly chain-store sales at 9 a.m. ET and the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m. ET, which will give Wall Street a glimpse into what kind of debate may or may not have taken place about more fiscal stimulus, i.e. QE3.
As for Tuesday's earnings calendar, Fastenal ( FAST) is the only S&P 500 component set to report with its fiscal second-quarter results due before the opening bell. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is calling for the Winona, Minn.-based wholesale of industrial and construction products to post a profit of 30 cents a share in June-ended period on revenue of $688.4 million. Based on Monday's regular session close at $36, Fastenal shares are up a healthy 22% so far in 2011, but the company is facing some skepticism on Wall Street with seven of the 11 analysts covering the stock rating it a hold. The track record is spotty with Fastenal missing in four of its past eight quarters, though it's topped consensus three of the last four times out. Other companies opening their books tomorrow include Wolverine Worldwide ( WWW) and Infosys Technologies ( INFY) before the opening bell, and Tuesday Morning Corp. ( TUES) after the close. Tuesday's action will probably take a bigger cue from Monday's late reports as Alcoa ( AA) issued confusing numbers -- a big beat on the top line that translated to in-line results after the consensus number ticked down a penny over the weekend -- and the stock was stalled in late trades. The other attention-getter was Microchip Technology ( MCHP), which not only warned about its June quarter but took down expectations for the September-ending period too, intimating the much of the semiconductor industry may be in for a rough patch because widespread global economic weakness. The warning was just the latest in what's been both a busy and inordinately negative preannouncement season. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org