BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Dow 11,000 one day, S&P 1200 the next? It's a scenario that's possible given the market's current positioning -- but not an easy feat given the bearish sentiment U.S. stock futures were showing after Monday's close. Instead of counting on the broad market's movement this week, let's turn once again to this week's best technical setups.
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.
That's why, every week, Stockpickr takes a look at stocks that could be staging a technical move soon and compiles a portfolio of promising
Here's a look at this week's potential trades.
$17 billion department store chain
reported some telling numbers in its April 8 sales release. The company saw comparable store sales climb 22.5% since last April, but despite the strong fundamental performance, its shares are still trading at a relative value to peers. That could all change thanks to a technical pattern brewing in shares of Kohl's.
Kohl's has made intelligent choices in the past few years, moving its focus from discount housewares and apparel to higher-margin private label and exclusive brands. That shift has helped the company keep a step ahead of other, more vulnerable retailers as consumer spending has slowed; and it's meant that Kohl's was among the first to see fresh cash flow back in.
Right now, shares of Kohl's are sitting at the bottom of a trading channel that the company has been bounded in since the end of January. A bounce off of trend channel support is the upside trade trigger you'll want to look for if you're considering taking a stake in this stock.
While thin margins have had investors on pins and needles coming into 2010,
Briggs & Stratton
has managed to deliver outsized performance for both its balance sheet and its share prices this year. Since the first trading day of 2010, the company's stock has appreciated more than 17%, a number that significantly outpaces the market.
But there's little indication that bullish sentiment in Briggs & Stratton is waning at all. Since early February, the company's stock price broke upward, passing through a formerly tough resistance level and settling just shy of a 52-week high. The stock has been consolidating ever since, but with such a small space between current levels and new yearly highs, it's unlikely that investors will leave it there for long.
Earnings on April 22 could be the catalyst Briggs & Stratton needs to break out of consolidation and trigger an upside trade.
Natural gas transmission and exploration company
( EP) may not be engaged in the most exciting business around, but its stock is forming a fairly exciting pattern right now for traders who are interested in playing the long side.
Like many mid- to large-cap energy companies, El Paso has faced a tough financial environment in the past couple of years. Unlike most, that's sparked a shift in El Paso's assets to lower-risk, higher assured return properties. And although that conservative approach has kept this stock from getting too exciting up until now, a long-term ascending triangle pattern could fuel an upside breakout in the near-term.
Longer-term patterns are especially enticing because they are stronger and more reliable than shorter-term technical set-ups. And with El Paso's ascending triangle nearly a year in the making, the upside potential is strong enough to warrant a look this week. Wait for shares to cross over resistance before taking this trade.
To see these plays in action, check out the promising promising
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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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
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Investor's Business Daily