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TheStreet Open House

Support and Resistance: Technical Analysis Primer

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Support and resistance are two technical terms that most investors have probably heard at one time or another. These two technical price levels aren't just key tenets of technical analysis; these two simple concepts are also the basis of many of Wall Street's most-successful trading strategies.

Like most analysis concepts, though, it's not enough to understand what support and resistance are; success comes from knowing how to put it into play.

Today, we'll take a look at how support and resistance works, how to determine these key levels, and how to put them to work for your portfolio starting from day one.

Simply put, support and resistance are price levels that stocks have trouble moving beyond. Support acts as a sort of price floor for a stock, whereas resistance acts as a price ceiling.

Frequently, would-be technical analysts can become pretty skilled at picking out support and resistance levels without actually understanding the mechanics of how these price levels work to restrict stocks' movements. You'll be happy to know that these prices aren't magical levels -- instead, they're a function of investor psychology and market mechanics.

Related: 4 Stocks Setting Up to Break Out

So how can these "price barriers" exist in the market?

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