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Stocks could sleepwalk higher into quarter end

John Moore / Staff | Getty Images News

Aside from geopolitical risk, few catalysts are on the horizon, and stocks could continue to creep higher into the end of the quarter.

"I just think this is an environment where it's sleepy. Volatility is low. We keep getting scolded that we should be more worried, and I don't think that's true. I think we're fine and stocks will continue to post more gains," said Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. "Stocks are up five percent tin the last month, so it's a question of what stops it."

So far, oil prices are not holding back the market, and in fact Kleintop points out that energy and materials are performing well.


With the S&P 500 hanging below its all-time high and the Dow within shooting distance of 17,000, stocks meandered on low volume Monday. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.62 percent late Monday.

"It's not really a lack of buying—it's a lack of selling," said Mark Lusichini, chief market strategist at Janney Montgomery. "In the absence of something from the Iraq situation either escalating or de-escalating, we just don't have enough. Escalation could spike oil prices…We don't really have any big corporate news. Pre-announcements have been running pretty negative. We really don't have any big economic news on the calendar until the next labor report."

Read MoreMarkets on inflation watch after dovish Fed

Traders say the market could trade quietly with an upward bias until the quarter end, and Kleintop expects stocks to continue gaining into the second half. The S&P 500 is up about six percent so far this year, and he said the index could do about the same in the second half.

Luschini said the market is waiting to see how the second quarter economic activity shapes up, and that's partly behind its relative listlessness. "It's still too soon to tell. There's a lot of reasons to be sidelined. There's no impetus to sell. The market has had numerous opportunities to take a piece of news and sell off on it." He noted home sales data was better than expected Monday, but the market is waiting to see if trends are consistent.

Read MoreThe rich get richer as stock buybacks surge

What to watch

S&P/Case-Shiller home price data will be released at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, and new home sales, reported at 10 a.m. , are expected to be up a half percent.

Consumer confidence is also at 10 and is expected to show a very slight improvement to 83.5 form 83. The Treasury auctions $30 billion 2-year notes at 1 p.m.

There are several Fed speakers Tuesday, including Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, at 7:45 a.m. on the economy. New York Fed President William Dudley speaks at 2 p.m. in San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Francisco Fed President John Williams speaks after the close at 6:30 p.m. ET on the global economy and the Fed.

—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow her on Twitter @pattidomm.

  • Patti Domm

    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • CNBC Personal Finance Correspondent

  • JeeYeon Park is a writer for CNBC.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC

  • Rick Santelli joined CNBC Business News as an on-air editor in 1999, reporting live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

  • Senior Producer at CNBC's Breaking News Desk.