Year-end buying could be the tail wind that pushes the Dow to 18,000, a psychological level that could give any Santa rally more steam.
"Trends all of a sudden reversed, and investors believe now that low oil prices are good and that could push stocks even higher," said Jack Ablin, CIO at BMO Private Bank. "It's more of a retail number. I suppose Dow 18,000 would certainly get people's attention. When you're closing a year on a high like that, that makes an important statement."
Barring any surprises or weakness in the economic data, stocks could continue to ride higher Tuesday. The S&P 500 closed at its 50th new high of the year Monday, up 7 points at 2,078, and the Dow was also at a record, rising 154 to 17,959. Oil, meanwhile, sank, losing more than 3 percent Monday on OPEC comments that production would remain the same, regardless of price.