Not all of the setups we're looking at today are bullish -- take Pfizer (PFE), for instance. The $181 billion pharmaceutical giant looks a whole lot like Vodafone right now; the only problem is that it looks like Vodafone back in October, not now after the bounce off of support.
Pfizer is forming a head and shoulders top, a pattern that indicates exhaustion among buyers -- it's formed by two swing highs that top out at around the same level (the shoulders), that are separated by a higher high (the head). A breakdown below the neckline at $23.50 is the sell (or short) signal for PFE. A closer look at the setup in Pfizer reveals that this stock is showing the same pattern in multiple timeframes -- there's a mini head and shoulders top that forms the head. That sort of a nested pattern is actually pretty common, and it gives traders a pretty good indication of how PFE will react if it breaks its longer-term neckline at $23.50.
The head and shoulders may be a popular pattern, but the research shows that it's still a valid one: a recent academic study conducted by the Federal Reserve Board of New York found that the results of 10,000 computer-simulated head-and-shoulders trades resulted in "profits [that] would have been both statistically and economically significant." Just remember that the trading signal only comes if Pfizer moves below that neckline level...To see this week's trades in action, check out the Technical Setups for the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.
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