WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) --U.S. stocks are solidly in the red today as market players fear that slowing global growth is going to push world economies back into recession territory.
Triple-digit losses are ruling the tape, and now the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
has slipped below 12,000 for the first time since last March. The selloff at this point is so severe that the
has dropped into the negative for the year.
China reported a small-than-expected surplus, citing slower export growth. British industrial production unexpected fell 1.7% in May vs. April, which marked the biggest month-to-month fall in 20 months. Before you extrapolate too much from the headlines, I think it's important to realize that the market was probably pricing in all the bad news weeks ago.
The Dow now looks like it's on a collision course to test its 200-day moving average at 11,687.44. If it fails to find any support at that technical level, then look for support at 11,555.48. The
also looks like a lock to hit its 200-day
of 1253.50. The next major support level after that on the S&P is 1249.05. As for the Nasdaq, the 200-day sits at 2628.40, and its next significant support level is 2603.50.
Why I am mentioning all of these price levels? These are the areas that have a high probability of seeing some buying interest in the coming days and weeks. Large traders watch technical levels like the 200-day moving average like hawks, so you should do the same.
Before I get into some breakout ideas that are working in this sea of red, I want to discuss what I do on downtrend days, besides shorting stocks. Plain and simple, I look for stocks that are bucking the trend and moving higher in a weak tape. These are the type of names that could be presenting buying opportunities since they're showing relative strength. If investors aren't willing to sell their shares today, then that could mean buying demand is there. They could be oversold.
Some names that are standing out today and trending higher but aren't breakout plays include
. Put these on your radar and consult the charts to see if any of these have bottomed or look ready to countertrend against the market weakness.
After I have identified names that aren't going down in a weak tape, I then look for the really strong stocks that are starting to break out.
is not a new game on Wall Street. This strategy has been by legendary traders such as William O'Neal, Stan Weinstein and Nicolas Darvas. Here's a look at a number of stocks
LML Payment Systems
One small-cap stock that is working in this weak tape and is starting to break out is
LML Payment Systems
, a provider of electronic payment and risk management and authentication services primarily to businesses and organizations that use the Internet to receive or send payments. This stock is off to a slow start in 2011, with shares down 11%, but technically things are starting to look up.
If you take a look at the chart for LML Payment Systems, the first thing you're going to notice is how the stock dropped big from its March high of $6.14 to its recent low of $2.11 a share. After that big drop, the stock formed a double-bottom chart pattern and has now started to rebound strong - so strong, that the stock is starting to break out today above some past overhead
at around $3.16 to $3.20 a share.
This breakout is coming on
, which is a bullish signal. Volume today has already registered over 750,000 shares, which is well above the three-month average volume of 304,500 shares. It's worth pointing out that this big-volume up day has also pushed the stock back above its 200-day moving average of $2.90 a share. When stocks trade through their 200-day on big volume, it's often a sign of major strength.
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This stock could easily be setting up to trend significantly higher, so if you want to play LML, you could buy it off any weakness and simply place a stop out just below the 200-day. If you get in this name and it continues to move up, I would add aggressively to any long positions once it takes out its next significant resistance area of $3.50.
Another strong small-cap stock that's starting to print new highs and break out is
, a pharmaceutical company that focuses on self-injection pharmaceutical products and technologies and gel-based products. This stock is off to a solid start in 2011, with shares up over 25%.
Of all the names I am going to highlight, Antares looks the strongest. If you take a look at its chart, you'll see that the stock has started to break out to multi-year highs above some past overhead resistance at $2 a share. This breakout is being accompanied by
. Volume today has already clocked in at over 1.6 million shares, which is well above the three-month average volume of 647,000 shares.
In fact, the last three trading sessions were all huge upside volume days, with 2.9 million, 1.2 million and 2.4 million shares changing hands. Whenever I see a stock break out to multi-year highs on huge volume, I immediately get very interested because this could mean the stock is entering a new bullish phase that could send it significantly higher.
The next area to watch to confirm that this stock might be ready for a huge move is $2.50 a share, which is
from back in 2003. If you see AIS take that price out to the upside, then I would consider it a very bullish signal. The all-time high on this stock is $5 a share, so we could see plenty of upside if AIS is ready for prime time.
One could be a buyer of this stock on any weakness and simply use a mental stop below the multi-year breakout at $2 a share. I would add to the position if you see $2.50 taken out with volume.
If you're looking for a biotech stock that's acting strong in this weak tape and starting to break out, then check out
, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of drugs to provide therapeutic intervention in treating human diseases at the cellular level. This is one of the strongest stocks in the market lately, with shares up over 87% so far in 2011.
If you take a look at the chart for Ariad, you'll see that the stock has started to flirt with breaking out above some past overhead resistance at around $9.48 to $9.58 a share. Earlier in today's trading session, this stock tagged $10 a share, but it has since pulled back to around $9.50 a share. Volume so far is huge, with over 4.3 million shares traded vs. the three-month average volume of just 2.5 million shares.
Volume for the past three trading sessions has also seen monster upside volume of 5.9 million, 5.7 million and 6.6 million shares. This is a very bullish signal that could mean that large traders are accumulating the stock for a much bigger move higher. What I would like to see now is for the stock to close in
, either today or in the next few trading sessions, on heavy volume.
If you see that type of action, then it might not be a bad idea to get long this stock. One could simply buy the breakout or could buy on weakness in anticipation of a breakout. I would simply use a tight mental stop in case the move fails to materialize. Keep in mind that the last time this stock was trading over $10 a share was back in 2004.
One more breakout candidate that traders should put on their radar for potential higher prices is
, a global designer, marketer and distributer company that specializes in consumer fashion accessories. Its offerings include a line of men's and women's fashion watches and jewelry, handbags, small leather goods, belts, sunglasses, footwear, cold weather accessories and apparel.
Before I get into the chart for Fossil, I think it's important to point out that this $100-plus stock is not getting hit today with the rest of the market. That's a bullish sign since such high-priced stocks are favorite targets of bears in downtrending markets.
If you take a look at the chart for Fossil, you'll see that that the stock hasn't broken out yet, but it's quickly approaching a breakout. Shares of Fossil are flirting with some overhead resistance at around $106.20 to $107.54 a share. In fact, the stock touched $108.35 a share today but has since pulled back toward $106.
What traders should watch for now with FOSL is for a move above those breakout levels on a closing basis, either today or in the coming weeks. If you see that move with volume that's well above the three-month average action of 789,000 shares, then this stock could be ready to trend much higher.
Keep in mind that if we get that move, it will mark an all-time high on the stock. That means that everyone who has ever bought it is making money. One could buy the breakout and simply place a mental stop just below $107.54 in case it's not ready for the big lights. I would strongly suggest looking for a daily and weekly close about $107.54.
A big bullish bet on Fossil comes from
, which holds nearly a million shares of the stock as of the most recently reported period.
To see more breakout candidates, inlcuding
, check out the
portfolio on Stockpickr.
-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.
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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.