Shareholders of tech mega-cap Alphabet are enjoying a banner year in 2017, sitting on a near 26% rally since the calendar flipped to January. Shares have outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by around 10% on a total returns basis, leaving the broad market in their dust.
And that's all the more impressive when you consider the fact that Alphabet is actually this year's most conservative performer among the FAANGs -- the group of stocks made up of Facebook (FB) - Get Report , Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report , Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report and Google's parent company.
There's more! This tech stock has been spending the last several months setting the stage for an encore performance.
To figure out how to trade Alphabet as we round the corner to November, we're turning to the chart for a technical look:
Most of Alphabet's upside came in the first five months of 2017. Since peaking in early June, shares have spent the intervening months tracking sideways. But that sideways price action is actually the setup for a textbook example of a bullish continuation pattern that's nearing breakout territory as of this writing.
The pattern in play for shares of Alphabet right now is an ascending triangle setup, a continuation pattern that triggers a buy with a breakout through the $990 price ceiling in GOOG that was set back in June and re-tested two times since (that corresponds to the $1,010 price tag in GOOGL shares). Simply put, a material breakout above $990 in GOOG translates into a brand new buy signal for this big tech company - and the start of another leg higher.
What makes that $990 level so significant for shares of GOOG? It all comes down to buyers and sellers.
In short, the $990 resistance level is a price where there has been an excess of supply of shares. In other words, it's a spot where sellers have previously been more eager to step in and take gains than buyers have been to buy. That's what makes a breakout above $990 so significant. The move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level. Shares are within grabbing distance of $990 this week, but it wouldn't be surprising if we see shares correct a bit before buyers attempt to make their move to new highs.
There's likely a lot more upside in Alphabet this fall -- that's good reason to keep a close eye on that $990 price tag in the sessions ahead.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.