NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Monday was a quiet session, and Tuesday looks set up for more of the same. But after that, investors should be ready to buckle up. Apple ( AAPL) has its big product announcement on Wednesday with the iPhone 5 expected to finally see the light of the day. Germany's constitutional court could steal some of Tim Cook's thunder though with its ruling on the European Central Bank's big bond-buying plans. Thursday brings the resolution of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting with Ben Bernanke & Co. anticipated to deliver not only another round of quantitative easing but possibly an extension of the central bank's promise to keep interest rates at the current historic lows beyond late 2014. Since the decision won't come until mid-afternoon, Friday's trading will carry a heavy Fed influence as well. Thus far, the calls for a pullback in U.S. stocks have been few and far between in the wake of this latest spike higher. Instead, the quick 2%-plus burst to multi-year highs late last week seems to have emboldened the bulls and silenced the bears. For instance, Tony Dwyer, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, was moved to reiterate his 2013 target of 1650 for the S&P 500 on Monday, a call for roughly 15%-plus appreciation from current levels. "Until this past year, periods of sub-3% core inflation suggested the equity market should trade at a minimum 15 multiple," he wrote. "The European Debt Crisis and recession, slowing growth in emerging economies, and fears of 'fiscal cliff' have priced in a possible recession that we continue to believe remains highly unlikely. Based on Friday's close at 1438, the S&P 500's forward price-to-earnings multiple stood at 13.9X. The main risk being flagged by Dwyer is a jump in interest rates, so the Fed's promise is providing considerable underpinning for his confidence. "In our view, outside of a geopolitical shock, the risk in such a bullish fundamental outlook is a rapid and sustainable rise in interest rates," he said. "At this juncture, there appears to be very little evidence of that happening, especially with long-term interest rates hovering near historically low territory."
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) is slated to give its mid-quarter update though, and McDonald's ( MCD) 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.
Five Below ( FIVE) was also a late loser after the off-price retailer forecast an adjusted profit of between $200,000 and $600,000, or breakeven on a per share basis or earnings of a penny per share, on sales ranging from $79 million to $81 million. Wall Street is currently looking for breakeven results on revenue of $79.6 million in the October-ending period. The stock dipped nearly 6% in extended trades to $32.82 on volume of close to 200,000. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.