BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- The S&P 500 is in make-or-break mode. Again.
For most of 2013, the big index has been charging ahead in a well-defined rally; volatility has been extremely low and price action has been bouncing within a tight channel since all the way back in November. Yes, the nearly-15% climb in the S&P over that period has been a very big move, but it hasn't been an overblown exuberant pop higher. It's been orderly.
That changed this week, when the S&P got batted down 2.3% on Monday and another 1.4% in yesterday's session with a 1.4% rebound in between. Clearly, volatility is coming back into the market. But volatility isn't a bad thing on its face.The most critical thing to watch this week is going to be just how well the S&P is able to hold up at trend line support, the lower boundary of the rally. With the index sitting right on top of support as I write, the S&P is in make-or-break mode. But we've seen this before -- five other times since November, in fact. That means that traders and investors alike need to be cautious about picking up a "sky is falling" mentality. >>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy After Last Week's Rally Until the technicals say otherwise, we're still in a market where it's paid off to buy the dips. And the technicals don't say otherwise until the S&P falls through its 50-day moving average. A large number of big-name stocks are still looking like attractive trades in this environment. Today, we'll take a technical look at five of them. If you're new to technical analysis, here's the executive summary. >>5 Stocks Poised for Breakouts 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, I take an in-depth look at big names that are telling important technical stories. Here's this week's look at the charts of five high-volume stocks to trade for gains. >>5 Hated Earnings Stocks That Deserve Your Love