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5 Big Stocks to Trade for Gains

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- As Mr. Market gives back some of his early week gains this morning, investors are going to be eyeing the data.

The first trading week of 2012 is already shaping up much the same as an average week in 2011: with a couple of steps forward followed by a couple of steps back. A more decisive direction for stocks could come from data. It's Thursday, which means that a slew of new data is hitting Wall Street this morning. From this morning's jobless claims numbers to the Fed's balance sheet after the close, the way stocks react to key data points is going to be a big hint about what kind of performance investors can expect in the first quarter of the new year.

At the same time, we're looking for more technically driven trading opportunities forming in a handful of the biggest stocks.

>>10 Top S&P 500 Stocks for 2012

If 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.

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