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 get

Another day older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go

I 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.

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