One final breakout play that comes out of the energy space is Brigham Exploration (BEXP), an independent exploration, development and production company that utilizes advanced exploration, drilling and completion technologies to systematically explore for, develop and produce domestic onshore crude oil and natural gas reserves. This name is off to a solid start so far this year with shares up over 17%.
Exploration and production stocks like Brigham Exploration are off the races today after BHP Billiton offered $38.75 a share for Petrohawk Energy, a 65% premium to its closing price from the previous day's trading session. Brigham Exploration, along with names such as Oasis Petroleum (OAS), Range Resources (RRC) and Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG), have been mentioned by analysts as possible takeover targets off the heels of the BHP deal.
If you take a look at the chart for Brigham Exploration, you'll see that this stock has just started to break out above some past overhead resistance at around $31.87 to $31.89 a share. This past resistance area is very significant, because the stock has failed twice at this level during the past three months. A move above $32 could set this stock up for a run back towards $34 to $35 a share rather quickly.Traders should keep in mind that shares of BEXP were acting bullish even before the BHP deal hit the wires. You can this on the chart when you notice how BEXP has been making higher lows for the past couple of weeks, which is a bullish technical sign. A pattern of higher lows means that large traders were eager to buy any dip on the stock. One could be a buyer of this stock as it clears $32 and simply use a mental stop like 15 cents below that price. I would add to any long positions once BEXP clears $34 to $34.95 a share on strong volume. Look for volume that's well above or close to the three-month average action of 3.5 million shares. A move above $34.95 should set up BEXP for a run back towards its 52-week high of $37.87 a share. To see more breakout candidates, check out the Breakout Stocks of the Week portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.
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