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5 Break-Out Stocks: The Search for Survivors

Vertex Pharmaceutical

One final breakout idea that's also in the biotechnology sector is Vertex Pharmaceutical (VRTX - Get Report). This company is engaged in the business of discovering, developing and commercializing small molecule drugs for the treatment of diseases. Vertex engaged in phase-I clinical trials and/or nonclinical activities with respect to a range of additional drug candidates, including compounds intended for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection, cystic fibrosis and influenza. This stock has been uptrending nicely so far this year with shares up over 28%.

A couple of reasons to like Vertex here is because the stock is displaying some relative strength with shares up most of the day in this weak tape, and also because of an upcoming catalyst that could propel shares higher. Vertex is slated to present at an upcoming Robert W. Baird Health Care Conference in New York that will take place on Sept. 7 and 8.

If you take a look at the chart for Vertex, you'll see that this stock has two major breakout signals that could be setting up to trigger in the coming days or weeks. The first is a move above a key descending trend line that started back in early August when the stock was at $53 a share. A move above that trend line would be a bullish development for shares of VRTX since it's marked a level where sellers have showed up recently.

The second breakout signal will trigger if VRTX trades above some near-term overhead resistance at $47.50 and then above its 50-day moving average of $47.92 a share. If the stock clears both of those levels, then it will have a pretty resistance free clear path back towards $53 a share.

One could simply be a buyer of this stock on any weakness as long as it holds above its near-term support zone at around $44.50 to $43.30 a share. I would get out of this trade if the stock falls below those levels on strong volume. If you want to buy strength, then buy VRTX once it clears its 50-day moving average of $47.92 on big volume. Look for volume that's tracking close to or well above its three-month average volume of 2.17 million shares. I would stop out of that trade if the stock then moves back below that key descending trend line. I would add to any long position in VRTX if it clears $53 with volume.

This stock has a decent short interest since 4.1% of the tradable float is sold short by the bears. Those short-sellers have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by around 11.8%, or by about 898,000 shares. If this stock breaks out soon, then the bears could cover quickly sparking a big short-covering rally.

To see more breakout candidates like Universal Display (PANL - Get Report), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN - Get Report) and O-Reilly Automotive (ORLY - Get Report), check out the Breakout Stocks of the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.


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-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to and maintains the website, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.
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