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S&P 500 Taps Out as Unlucky 13 Caps Rally

Fin - Breakout - US

Not to diminish a three-day, 3.3% rally by the S&P 500, but did you notice that the benchmark large-cap index tried to bust through the key 1300 level six different times Monday and failed?

That's kind of a big deal, and it really sets the stage for Tuesday's trade. It cannot be overstated that if the market -- on its own merits and not via Fed intervention -- is to move forward and attempt to get back to the February high of 1344, then a breakthrough at 1300 is a first key step.

If it can't, it will be further fodder for skeptics who say the situation in Japan, Libya, the housing market, oil and gas prices, and so on, have yet to be fully digested and that there's likely more downside ahead for a sell-off that began a month ago.

And with essentially no economic data to trade on Tuesday, investors will instead seek clues from abroad, with Japan reopening after a holiday Monday, and guidance from the earnings patch, where a handful of S&P 500 members are set to report their latest results.