Intel (INTC) - Get Report ended a six-week narrow consolidation on Tuesday with a powerful upside breakout. The semiconductor giant finished the session above the December peak, with the help of a big jump in trade. Following this impressive move, Intel's stock has now recovered all of the post-earnings losses it suffered after a disappointing third-quarter earnings report.

Ahead of Thursday afternoon's earnings report, the stock is in a very positive position.

Three weeks after Intel suffered a nearly 6% drop on Oct. 19, the stock found support near $33.50. The stock rebounded from this key level before taking a dive late in the month. This selloff intensified as December began, driving the stock back down to the November lows for an important retest. Patient investors responded very positively to the low-risk buying opportunity. After holding the 200-day moving average, Intel stock quickly reversed, which eventually resulted in a nine-day winning streak.

Shortly after Intel's second rebound off the $33.50 area ran out of steam four weeks ago, the stock entered a narrow consolidation pattern. Tuesday's upside breakout from this bullish pennant has left behind layers of support. This solid zone runs from the December high near $37.35 to last week's high of $37.

If shares continue to gain traction here, a move into new 52-week high territory is very likely. On the downside, it would take a close below $36 to put a new rally leg on hold.

One thing is clear: Intel investors appear to be gaining confidence in this A-rated stock ahead of Thursday's report. It may take a very disappointing result to derail a fresh rally leg.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long INTC.