1:15pm (EST)

The bulls are doing their best to end the bears’ 10-week Monday winning streak as the major indexes are pushing the next wave or resistance.  The charts from the weekend were showing there was a good chance the market could push the upper channels of resistance  and today’s action puts the bulls within striking distance of a breakout.

Economic news has been light today and there have been no time bombs from across the pond.  Futures were improving before the bell which led to an opening pop as the market made a steady climb higher during the first hour of trading.  Since then, the action has leveled off as the bulls reload for a possible run to 2012 highs.

We spent all weekend looking at charts until our head was spinning and although we are in a good position to play the market breakout (or breakdown), we just need to see a few more days of action to see how this will play out.

Trading ranges can be brutal and they are hard to identify until you are in them.  The market hit new lows in late May and into June and bounced back with a vengeance just a few weeks later.  Since mid-June we have warned of a choppy, range bound market and over last few weeks we have said the bulls could push resistance.

With earnings winding down and Europe buying more time to work through its debt issues, the bulls will need a catalyst or two to carry them to a breakout.  We mentioned this morning there is a chance Ben Bernanke does something at the end of the month when the zombies meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and there are rumors Apple (AAPL, $623.29, up $7.59) will announce its iPhone 5 in mid-September with deliveries available shortly afterwards.  Shares closed above $600 to start last week after gaining $15 the prior Monday and the 52-week high is $644.

The stock normally rallies ahead of these big events and the option pits are pretty active on Apple today.  The Apple August (WEEKLY) 625 calls (AAPL120810C00625000, $4.35, up $1.75) are up nearly 70% today while the September 650 calls (AAPL120922C00650000, $9.50, up $1.90) are up 25%.

These two events alone could fuel the bulls’ enthusiasm but they are a month away.

So, the questions are, does the market rally up until then which is when we could see a breakout and then a sell the news event, or, does resistance hold?  Today’s close will be an important first step which could provide us some clues on what to expect for the rest of the week.

As we head to press, the Dow is up 83 points to 13,179 while the S&P 500 is higher by 8 points to 1,399 and is within spitting distance of 1,400.  The Nasdaq is advancing 31 points and is at 2,999 and has tripped 3,000.