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Outsourcing Opportunities

Stocks in this article: ASGNEXLSHSTM

Another provider of outsourced services is HealthStream (HSTM), which develops Web-based training programs for health care workers. The stock has advanced more than 33% so far in 2012, although it gapped down to finish 5.9% lower on Tuesday.

The plunge followed a first-quarter earnings miss, but there are some positives about Tuesday's chart action.

First, the stock found support right at its 50-day average, which shows that some institutional investors stepped in to buy shares at a lower price and were not discouraged by the earnings news.

Second, after the initial gap down, the stock spent most of the session working its way higher, so a good part of Tuesday's volume was actually due to buying, not selling.

Third, the stock ended the session just above its 20-day moving average, closing above its final price from the week ended April 13.

It's not unusual for a stock to slide after a disappointing earnings report but keep its uptrend intact. One thing to be aware of on HealthStream's chart: It has repeatedly pulled back on higher lows. Historically, that has meant a stock's uptrend may be running out of steam. In the past year or so, however, that characteristic has had less of an impact.

What does that mean for HealthStream?

Although the stock is overdue for a sharp correction that flushes out buyers lacking conviction, recent history shows that a shallow pullback could set the stage for further price gains.

As always, though, general market health looms as a determining factor for many stocks' individual run-ups. A buy point for HealthStream could occur at its prior high, $26.90, or even sooner, depending on how its consolidation takes shape.

At the time of publication, Stalter had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

Kate Stalter is a freelance market writer for RealMoney. From 2001 until 2010, she was a writer at Investor's Business Daily and hosted the "Market Wrap" video at Investors.com. She wrote and edited IBD columns including "The Real Most Active," "Stocks In The News" and "Investor's Corner." Stalter co-hosted Webcasts with TD Ameritrade and regularly presented at IBD investing seminars nationwide. She received her MBA in finance and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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