BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Stocks have settled this week, as investors absorb some of the wild price action that the previous two weeks have brought us. Since Monday, stocks have gained 1.34% -- a far cry from the rollercoaster-style swings traders have been getting used to. This morning's flat open doesn't look like it's going to change that.
Another part of the reason for Mr. Market's calming down this week is data. Investors are withholding their judgment on stocks until the next round of economic data gets released to Wall Street. It's Thursday, which means that today's sure to be a big day for data. An ECB interest rate announcement, jobless claims and the Fed's money supply numbers are all likely to be market moving metrics today.
From a technical standpoint, the broad market is reaching an important level right now: the sub-1300 resistance level in the S&P 500 that stocks hit their head on at the end of October. If the S&P can push through that level, the stage is set for a very attractive start to 2012. This week, we'll take a look at five big names on Wall Street that could benefit from that.In case you're new to technical analysis, here's the executive summary: Technicals are a study of the market itself. Since the market is ultimately the only mechanism that determines a stock's price, technical analysis is a valuable tool even in the roughest of trading conditions. Technical charts are used every day by proprietary trading floors, Wall Street's biggest financial firms, and individual investors to get an edge on the market. And research shows that skilled technical traders can bank gains as much as 90% of the time. Every week, we take an in-depth look at large-cap stocks that are telling important technical stories. Here's this week's look at the technicals of five must-see stocks.