Technical Setups: AutoNation, Northern Trust

Here's a look at some of this week's technical plays.
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BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- New data could move the markets for the rest of the week, but will this push stocks in the way investors are rooting for?

The results of the Fed's two-day policy meeting come to bear on Wednesday, followed shortly by jobless claim numbers -- two significant metrics that Wall Street will surely be watching with baited breath. But regardless of which way the markets move, we're going to take maximum advantage of any upside potential by checking out this week's technical set-ups.

Technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's chart patterns 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.

Here's a look at

this week's technical plays

.

Texas-based oil and gas producer

Concho Resources

(CXO) - Get Report

has been having a tremendous year in 2010, with shares up more than 26% since the first trading day in January. But shares could be headed even higher thanks to a bullish technical pattern emerging in Concho's shares right now.

Unlike many of its competitors, Concho maintains a bevy of producing resource properties -- a portfolio that generates significant profits thanks to a low operating cost structure. And new acquisitions this year promise to increase the company's attractiveness to investors even more. But while most wait for those fundamental factors to play out, they'll be missing the short-term technical picture.

Concho has been stuck in an uptrending channel since late 2009, but shares broke above it finally within the last couple of trading sessions. If the stock can manage to keep its head above the upper blue line for all of today's trading, this stock signals a buy.

Banking holding company

Northern Trust

(NTRS) - Get Report

suffered a big blow last week on an earnings miss that sent investors selling fast. But shareholders' fates could be about to change tanks to a bounce off of support.

Northern Trust has done well to eschew the traditional banking business model, instead focusing on private banking for wealthy clients and custodial services for large investment managers. As a result, the company has managed to maintain the thick margins of regional banking operations alongside the scale of a major financial institution. Although last week's underwhelming earnings stalled share growth, the setback looks temporary.

>> Who Owns Northern Trust?: Al Gore

Shares caught support at the 50-day moving average almost immediately after a selloff pushed NTRS stock into a gap-down situation. Since then, they've been tracking just above the 50-day, obedient to support. Once momentum cools down, shares could be in for a bounce back up to $59.

AutoNation

(AN) - Get Report

took its knocks in the last few years as one of the largest auto dealers in America. Along with the credit crunch came a significant slowdown in car sales that's only now starting to creep back up. Shares of AutoNation are starting their ascent as well -- and it could be an accelerated one this week.

Despite economic headwinds, AutoNation's strong business fundamentals kept cash flowing into the company's coffers just when it needed it most -- a time when less-liquid dealers were getting squeezed out by the powers that be in Detroit. As consumer spending continues its rise, expect shares of AutoNation to follow suit.

>> Who Owns Auto Nation?: Eddie Lampert

In the immediate term, AutoNation's tight trading yesterday points to a potential upward move in shares. The stock broke out to a new 52-week high on Friday, surpassing a staunch resistance level and quelling some doubts as to whether the bulls would find enough buying volume to keep shares afloat. Wait for a second consecutive open above the blue line before going long.To see these plays in action, check out the

Technical Setups for the Week portfolio

on Stockpickr.

RELATED LINKS:

>>Rocket Stocks for the Week

>>Dividend-Boosting Stocks

>>Paulson & Co.'s Portfolio

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.