BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- It's official -- two of the three major indices have plowed back to positive territory for the year. That's a significant shift considering the fact that the broad market was making new 52-week lows earlier this month. As a result, trading opportunities are increasing dramatically this week.
I did say two of the three. The laggard, the staid S&P 500, isn't far off from breaking into the black this year either -- it's a mere 0.27% away from breakeven. What caused this sudden shift in stocks? Well, it wasn't any sort of reconciliation in Europe, or a fix on the domestic economy. Instead, it's had a lot more to do with the breakout above the staunch 1225 resistance level in the S&P 500 late last week. That's a level we've been watching for a while now.
Earnings have been another important factor (barring outlier names such as Netflix (NFLX), of course). Investors effectively ignored strong earnings during the first two quarters of 2011, selling the market significantly lower in spite of firms' beating Wall Street estimates by a massive margin. Brushing off three straight quarters of earnings would have been a tall order, even for this market.To take advantage of newfound momentum, it's time to turn to the technicals. Technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action and trends. Once the domain of cloistered trading teams on Wall Street, technicals can help top traders make consistently profitable trades and can aid fundamental investors in better planning their stock execution. Here's a look at five new technical setups that could deliver breakout gains to your portfolio this week.