After a meandering Monday, stocks could see more turbulence as the week wears on.
Although strategists say it's too early to sound the all clear for the market, it does not seem like it is poised for a big downdraft.
"The next few sessions will be interesting and will decide whether the summer lows are in," said Scott Redler, partner with T3Live.com.
Stocks closed slightly higher Monday, with the Dow up 16 points at 16,559 and the up 4 points at 1,936. The S&P reached an intraday high of 1,944, and while headlines about Russia and Ukraine continued to focus on Russian troops at the border, stocks did not sell off as they did last week.
"The market has pretty much worked off its oversold condition and bounced back to where it broke down a few weeks earlier," said Redler, who follows the market's short-term technical trends. "The bears are feeling a bit nervous, as we're brushing back against the 21-day and 50-day moving averages." The key level to watch is 1,950, he said.
Redler said the question is whether the market holds 1,925 for the next couple of sessions, which would position it then to head toward 1,950. "At this point, we had a decent move off the lows and now we'll probably have some backing and filling before we move higher," he said.
Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, said he thinks the Ukraine situation was an excuse for the selloff but not the main reason.
"I think what's doing this is the combo package of the market being valued at 18 times versus 13 times earnings, and more than anything else we had a mindset change that really raised the issue of whether the Fed will change its timetable and the bond market re-price, based on the fact the economy is improving," he said.
Russia and Ukraine could keep investors nervous, but it will not have much lingering effect unless it escalates.
"I just don't think anyone really believes this is going to evolve into something that really alters the domestic economic outlook," Paulsen said, adding the caveat that geopolitical events can always turn into something bigger.
Paulsen has been expecting the market to trade lower to end the year to around 1,850, and does not believe the current wave of selling is over. He said while the market may sell off a bit further, the real test for stocks would be if there was wage inflation that pushes the Fed into rate hikes sooner.
"I didn't think there was any reason for the market to have fallen on anticipation of a conflict or rise on the news that they are backing off that conflict," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery. Luschini does not see much chance of Russia and Europe ramping up the conflict, even though Russian troops remain on the Ukraine border. "I think the economic consequences are fairly benign."
Luschini said the situation intensified at a time when markets might have had a negative reaction anyway. "I think the market is confused by data around the world, and it was just an element of uncertainty, and certainly if it recedes enough, it could give investors in the equity market some enthusiasm to buy again, " he said. European data has been weak of late, with Italy falling into recession and German factory orders weaker.
On Tuesday, there is the NFIB small business survey at 7:30 a.m., and the JOLTs survey at 10 a.m. Both contain information on hiring, which economists are watching to see if the recent trend toward a better job market is confirmed.
—By CNBC's Patti Domm