Stocks are finishing the first full trading week of 2019 on a strong note. The big S&P 500 is flat Friday afternoon, holding onto the gains that Mr. Market has put in over the previous four straight days.
Since the calendar flipped to January, the S&P 500 index is already up almost 3.5%, putting the broad market on track to post a double-digit return for 2019 following 2018's status as the worst year for stocks in a decade.
One important implication from the return to rally-mode is the idea that the regular stable of momentum stocks could start working again. Case in point: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) . The stock closed up 2.68% at $20.27 Friday.
- Watch Eric Jhonsa's interview from the floor of CES: AMD's CTO Tells TheStreet About the Chipmaker's Product Roadmap
AMD has been a serial momentum leader in recent years, outperforming both the broad market and the rest of the semiconductor industry by a big margin. Despite getting hit by the late 2018 correction harder than most, many investors focused on the absolute numbers rather than the fact that on a relative basis AMD still managed to post stellar performance during a tough year.
And now, there's a clear line in the sand that could make way to a buy signal in this big chip stock.
To figure out how to trade it, we're turning to the charts for a technical look.
Long term, it's worth noting that the uptrend in AMD remains alive and well this winter. Likewise, while many S&P components sold off to 2018 lows during the correction that started last fall, AMD actually managed to put in lows around the $16 level, a price tag that was still higher than shares had traded up until July of last year.
Now, AMD looks like it's carving out an intermediate-term bottom. Specifically, it's forming a double bottom pattern, a bullish reversal setup that looks just like it sounds. We're seeing similar reversals starting to form in many stocks right now, but the thing that makes AMD unique is the relative level that shares are basing here - it's still in a longer-term uptrend, after all.
The $24 level is the price tag to watch right now.
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If AMD can muster the strength to catch a bid above $24, the double bottom officially triggers, clearing the way to a re-test of prior highs set back in September.
It's worth noting that AMD is a more volatile stock than most - sizable swings aren't unlikely, and shares could correct down to $17 without invalidating the double bottom in shares. That said, the $17 level looks like an equally important price tag from a risk-management standpoint; if AMD violates $17, then the uptrend is busted, and you don't want to own it anymore.
Meanwhile, AMD's price action looks constructive on multiple timeframes. A breakout above $24 is the signal that buyers are definitively back in control of things.