Stockpickr) -- It's data dump Thursday, perhaps the only antidote to the extremely low-volatility market conditions Mr. Market has been plagued with since the start of February.
S&P 500 has been locked in a tight range since the beginning of the month, driving the
VIX Volatility Index down to its lowest sustained levels since last July. It's somewhat ironic that the high levels of volatility that made the broad market untradeable in the fourth quarter of 2011 are being followed up by extreme lows in volatility now, but either way, traders aren't laughing.
Of course, we're not far off from seeing a more tradable market this month. The S&P's current consolidation range has strong resistance right at the 1350 level, and a push above that price would take out a major hurdle for this rally.
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So could "Data Thursday" do it?
Maybe. Traders are weighing everything from jobs, housing and inflation to money supply data and Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech this morning; if the fundamentals are going to drive a technical break, now's as good a time as any. That's why we're watching the techincal setups in five of Wall Street's biggest names this week.
If you're new to
, 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