BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Today is the final trading day of 2010, but as significant as that may be, don't expect a whole lot from today's market action. After all, trading volume has been markedly lower for the past week, as Wall Street traders take a reprieve from stocks ahead of the New Year holiday.
Instead, the real movement can be expected in early 2011, when traders return to their desks, and all is right with the world once again.
But for smart traders, the legwork for taking advantage of the New Year's price action starts now. That's why we're taking our weekly look at the technicals on Wall Street's biggest stocks today, on New Year's Eve.
In case you're not familiar,
uses a stock's price movements to determine where shares are headed in the future. Technical charts are used every day by proprietary trading floors, the Street's biggest financial firms and individual investors to get an edge on the market. And according to some sources, skilled technical traders can bank gains as much as 90% of the time.
at how some of the biggest names on Wall Street are trading technically.
The past year has been a strong one for shareholders of
; shares of the Texas-based E&P have rallied more than 21% in 2010. And I expect that the trend could be continuing in 2011.
Shares of Anadarko have been locked in an uptrending channel for the last several months, bounded by resistance and support lines that dictated the stock's price action. That is, until yesterday, when shares of Anadarko broke out above a previous high on speculation that the company could be the target of an acquisition attempt, as well as positive comments from analysts at a bulge bracket firm. The gap-up sent Anadarko sailing to the top of its trend channel, begging the question of whether shares could hold up new
But sources point to yes. This morning's early price action had shares bid even higher, a good sign for investors. Keep a close eye on this stock: A push above trendline resistance could spell an accelerated price move.
Anadarko is a top holding of
, a new position from the most recent reporting period that makes up 3.3% of his total portfolio.
also favors the stock, though he decreased his position by 30.9%. It still comprises 4.4% of his total portfolio. And
own the stock as well. In fact, according to Shanthi Bharatwaj, the stock was one of the most recent period's
that attracted the most hedge fund interest.
Another giant oil stock that's sending technical signals right now is
, the third-largest oil and gas firm in China. Strong offshore production growth in the People's Republic has helped spur massive price appreciation in shares of this firm year-to-date, pushing the stock up more than 50%. And like the last oil company we looked at, there's significant upside in shares of this stock.
The chart for Cnooc is forming a picture-perfect ascending triangle pattern, a bullish pattern that's characterized by a staunch overhead resistance level (in this case right at $240), and higher lows. When shares finally get squeezed above $240, we have the potential for a fairly substantial move higher.
If you want to take advantage of this upside setup, you'll want to sit out until shares actually break above $240. While that will preclude you from a tiny bit of upside action, it'll also significantly reduce the chances that you'll get pushed out if the pattern fails. Consider a protective stop around $230 to protect against a retest of newfound support.
Recently, Cnooc was highlighted by Karvy Global as one of the
Things aren't looking quite so auspicious for
, the London-based bank with mammoth presence in Europe and Asia. Shares of this stock have been slowly tracking lower since last January, and now, with a bearish pattern showing its head (literally), increased downside risk is worth bracing for.
For HSBC, the pattern to watch is a head-and-shoulders, a setup that's characterized by a short-term top (the head), and a smaller top on either side (the shoulders). When shares break down below the support level for the pattern, known as shoulder level, this downside pattern is considered to have triggered.
While the head-and-shoulders setup in HSBC right now looks fairly tentative, the fact that it's fairly easy to spot coupled with this stock's heavy trading activity could easily spur selling. As such, this will be an important setup to watch for the next few trading days as the stock's share price nears shoulder level. Don't bet against shares until they've moved below $50.
To see this week's trades in action, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.