BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- The market giveth, and the market taketh away. Following Monday's sizable run-up, which left the S&P 500 1.3% higher, stocks aretrading lower this morning as Wall Street tries to decide which side of the market it's favoring. That action has sent volatility indicators such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange volatility Index, or VIX Index, up considerably from early April's calm bull market.
With all of that noise in stocks right now, what's an intelligent investor to do?
For starters, it's time to turn to repeatable, consistently profitable rule-based trades to try and eke the most profit potential out of the market regardless of which way the rest of the stock world is headed. To that end, we're taking another weekly look at a fresh set of 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
Indian layoffs are having a strong negative effect on
, the UK banking giant that's otherwise been undergoing a tremendous rally this year. Shares of the company are up more than 17% since the beginning of 2010 following excellent financial numbers reported in mid-February. But in the short term, the trend for this stock could be decidedly negative as shareholders give back some of their hard-fought gains.
Barclays is one of the UK's big three banks -- the only one, in fact, that didn't need to turn to the UK government for financial bailouts in the midst of the credit crunch. The company managed that financial feat by taking significant writedowns early on in the crisis, issuing significant stock to shore up its cash reserves. And while that somewhat risky strategy was effective in keeping Barclays afloat, it was less effective at protecting shareholder interests. The stock has seen nearly 50% dilution in the last couple of years.
On Friday, an event-driven slide pushed shares of Barclays below their 50-day and 200-day moving averages, two key support levels for the stock. Now that shares have two powerful price ceilings overhead, it's likely going to be tough to make it back above $21. Instead, expect a half-hearted attempt at a rally, followed by a bounce to lower ground.
is another stock that's having a powerful run in 2010. Shares of the truck rental and leasing company are up more than 16% year to date, but unlike Barclays, they're showing few signs of a slowdown. Instead, this company could be priming the pump for a jump to higher ground.
Ryder has carved out a consistently profitable niche in the truck rental and leasing business, focusing especially on recurring commercial clients who don't need or want to part with the capital required to purchase their own truck fleets. While the company's margins are relatively thin, they've been dependable, and along with a decent dividend payout, they've managed to impress investors enough to garner interest on a continual basis.
That interest could be increased in May, however, as the stock prepares to break out of a bullish ascending triangle pattern. Since mid-April, Ryder has been forming an ascending triangle, a pattern of higher lows and fixed highs that represents a buy on a break of resistance. The company's May shareholders meeting could be the catalyst to take the stock to the next level.
has been confined within an uptrending trading channel since early 2009, during which time it's made investors 113.64% richer. But shares are threatening to break out to higher territory following good earnings numbers. The only question that remains is whether they can.
Following what's been a fairly nonstop rally for Dover, buying pressure seems to be slowing at present. That factor already prevented the company from maintaining its last attempt to move above resistance. But consolidation is just the trick this stock needs to move from overbought to more neutral territory. Watch shares track sideways for a week before making their way above the upper blue line. If you want to play this trade, wait for two consecutive opens above the channel to avoid most of the downside risk.
To see these plays in action, check out the
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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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.