No, it's not one of the FAANG stocks -- the group of immensely popular tech stocks made up of Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report , Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report , Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report and Google's parent company Alphabet (GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report .
Microsoft has been in rally-mode all year long, charging more than 40% higher on a total returns basis since the calendar flipped to January. That upside puts it ahead of the upside in shares of FAANG component Alphabet, for instance. But, more importantly, that upward price trajectory isn't showing any signs of slowing down this December.
In fact, Microsoft just managed to hand investors a brand new breakout buy signal within the last few trading sessions. In other words, there could be a lot more upside left in this tech rally.
To figure out how to trade it, we're turning to the chart for a technical look:
It doesn't take an expert technical trader to figure out that Microsoft has been in rally-mode all year long. Shares kicked off a well-defined parabolic uptrend back in January, and they've been pointing higher ever since.
Zoom into the chart a bit, and things are looking just as sound on a shorter-term time horizon. Microsoft spent all of November consolidating beneath resistance at $85.50, a short-term price ceiling for shares within the context of MSFT's uptrend. But that all changed this month, when shares broke out through that $85.50 price level, then cleared the way for another up-leg this week.
In short, Microsoft's rally is still firing on all cylinders almost a year after it started. And the latest breakout buy signal in December means it's time to pull the trigger on a buy.
Extra evidence for upside in Microsoft comes from relative strength, the indicator down at the bottom of this stock's chart. MSFT's relative strength line has been making higher lows of its own, signaling that shares aren't just moving higher here, they're also continuing to outperform the rest of the S&P 500 in the process, even now. That price leadership is statistically predisposed to beget even more price leadership as we round the corner to 2018.
Risk-management is still key despite the strength in shares of Microsoft right now. The 50-day moving average has started acting like a proxy for trendline support in recent months -- that makes it a logical place to park a protective stop below if you decide to pull the trigger on this one.
Buyers are clearly still very much in control of the price action in MSFT -- and this December, it makes sense to join them.
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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.