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Stocks head into this holiday-shortened week on a flat note after having traded mixed during most of last week. No news or key developments have been strong enough of late to launch another attack on the record highs set just prior to the global economic collapse in 2008 and many pundits and market analysts are starting to predict that a fairly significant pullback could be in store, even as the major markets hovered at or near their multi-year highs leading into this week's opening bell.

The earnings season also winds down this week, which means attention could quickly shift towards budget cuts and politics again, especially with a March 1st deadline still looming for politicians to finalize a full budget for the first time in years. Given recent indications that a breakdown in Washington's cooperative tone could be in the works, investors may be preparing for another period of volatility dominated by skittish investors. Such a scenario would likely provoke additional profit taking after January's rally and also help to support those recent theories that a pullback is in store...

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