Well, it happened. Without much fanfare, U.S. market averages managed to set some major records yesterday, as the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 all managed to close at all-time highs Monday.
Not a bad start to the short holiday week.
But the biggest upside could be yet to come. You see, as the broad market averages set new high water marks for November, a large number of individual stocks are teetering on the verge of breakout territory. Put simply, those individual stock setups are where investors are going to find the largest moves for their portfolios.
To take advantage of that bullish trajectory for stocks, we're turning to the charts for a technical look at five big-name breakouts to buy this week.
In case you're unfamiliar with technical analysis, here's the executive summary: Technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action and trends. Once the domain of cloistered trading teams on Wall Street, technicals can help top traders make consistently profitable trades and can aid fundamental investors in better planning their stock execution.
Without further ado, here's a rundown of five technical setups that are showing solid upside potential right now.
Berry Plastics Group
Leading off our list of potential breakouts is Berry Plastics Group (BERY) - Get Report. Berry Plastics has been enjoying some stellar price action so far in 2016, up more than 27% since the calendar flipped to January, and outperforming the S&P 500 by almost a factor of four. Don't worry if you've missed that rally, though. Berry looks ready to kick off a second leg higher this Thanksgiving. Here's how to trade it:
Berry Plastics is currently forming an ascending triangle pattern, a bullish price setup that's been coming together in shares since the middle of August. The ascending triangle is a continuation setup that's formed by horizontal resistance up above shares at $46, with uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as BERY has bounced in between those two technically-significant price levels, it's been getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above that $46 price ceiling. A material breakout above $46 is our buy signal for this stock.
While shares closed a couple of cents above the $46 level yesterday, the move isn't quite enough to call the breakout confirmed - we've been here before several times over the course of the pattern. Some continuation in today's trading session would be enough to push BERY over the edge, though.
Relative strength, down at the bottom of BERY's price chart, is the additional piece of evidence for the breakout that investors should be paying attention to here. Our relative strength line, which measures this stock's outperformance versus the rest of the broad market, has been in a well-defined uptrend since March - as long as that uptrend in relative strength remains intact, BERY is statistically more likely than not to keep on outperforming.
We're seeing the exact same trading setup playing out in shares of $18 billion computer storage stock Western Digital (WDC) - Get Report. Like Berry Plastics, Western Digital is forming a pretty textbook example of an ascending triangle pattern. The difference here is that Western Digital's breakout has already been confirmed this week. For WDC, the breakout level to watch was prior resistance at $60 - now we've got a fresh buy signal in this tech stock.
What made that $60 level so significant for Western Digital? It all boils down to buyers and sellers. Price patterns, like this ascending triangle setup, are a good quick way to identify what's going on in the price action, but they're not the actual reason a stock is tradable. Instead, the "why" comes down to basic supply and demand for Western Digital's shares themselves.
The $60 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 $60 so significant - the move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level. If you decide to pull the trigger on WDC here, good risk management dictates parking a protective stop on the other side of the 50-day moving average.
Fidelity & Guaranty Life
It's been a rough year to own shares of small-cap insurance stock Fidelity & Guaranty Life (FGL) . Since peaking back in April, this stock has lost more than 11% of its market value, underperforming the rest of the broad market in a big way. But the recent strength of the financial sector has been helping to reverse trend in this life insurer -- and shares are finally looking ready for an up-move.
Fidelity & Guaranty Life is currently forming a double bottom, a bullish reversal pattern that looks just like it sounds. The pattern is formed by a pair of swing lows that bottom out at approximately the same price level. The buy signal comes on a breakout above the peak that separates that pair of price troughs - in FGL's case, that breakout level to watch is resistance up at the $24 level.
Because FGL's double bottom is a long-term trading setup, it comes with equally long-term upside implications once the $24 level gets taken out. From there, the path is clear for a retest for prior highs up at $26.25. Remember, the breakout is a precondition for this trade to become a high-probability upside mover; wait for shares to materially push above $24 before you buy it.
Things are looking pretty straightforward in shares of $53 billion software giant Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) - Get Report. This stock has been working its way higher all year long, climbing 12.5% year-to-date in a well-defined uptrend. Adobe's still a "buy the dips stock" this fall.
Adobe's uptrend is formed by a pair of parallel trendlines that have identified the high-probability range for shares to remain stuck within since late February. Every test of the bottom of that price channel so far has provided investors with a low-risk, high-reward buying opportunity for shares. So, as ADBE comes off trendline support for the fourth time, it makes sense to buy November's bounce higher.
Actually, waiting for that bounce is important for two key reasons: It's the spot where shares have the most room to move up before they hit resistance, and it's the spot where the risk is the least (because shares have the least room to move lower before the channel breaks, invalidating the upside trade). Remember, all trend lines do eventually break, but by actually waiting for the bounce to happen first, you're ensuring Adobe can actually still catch a bid along that line before you put your money on shares.
Most investors don't want anything to do with Sears Holdings (SHLD) right now -- and for good reason. This billion-dollar retailer has been an awful performer in 2016, shedding about 39% of its market value year-to-date. But that abysmal track record in Sears' shares could be about to turn around in time for the holiday season, giving long-suffering shareholders a welcome reprieve...
That's because Sears is currently forming an inverse head and shoulders pattern, a classic reversal setup that indicates exhaustion among sellers -- after the nonstop selling that Sears has endured this year, it's not hard to imagine that sellers are finally feeling fatigued now.
The inverse head and shoulders pattern is formed by two swing lows that bottom out at approximately the same level (the shoulders), separated by a lower low (the head). The buy signal comes on a move through Sears' neckline, currently at $11.75. That means the breakout actually happened earlier this month, and shares have been throwing back in recent sessions, giving investors a second chance for a low-risk entry point in SHLD.
Price momentum, measured by 14-day RSI at the top of Sears' chart, is the side-indicator to watch here. That's because our momentum gauge has been making a series of higher lows over the course of the inverse head and shoulders pattern, a bullish divergence that indicates buying pressure has been ramping up. If you decide to buy here, $11 is the line in the sand to park a stop below. If $11 gets violated, then the reversal pattern is busted, and you don't want to own Sears anymore.
At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.