BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Today's Federal Open Market Committee rate meeting is having a big impact on the market this week, as investors try to anticipate how the group's economic decisions will impact their investments. It's not just stocks, either. From bonds to currency trading, all traders are waiting to see whether we'll get a continuation of the last few bullish weeks.
But that decision is only part of the action worth watching this week.
From additional merger announcements to the breach of a major technical resistance level for the
yesterday, there's plenty of activity to keep an eye on for the next few trading days. The technicals are especially appealing right now.
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
An interesting technical setup is forming in shares of healthcare giant
right now. The company, which has already seen its shares rally 15% in 2010, provides health insurance to approximately 76 million Americans, making it one of the biggest companies in the health care field -- and one of the biggest stocks that trades on the Big Board. Right now, the potential for an upside breakout is hard to miss.
UnitedHealth has been pushing upward for the past few months, bounded by a trading channel (the blue parallel lines) that's kept share prices in check this summer. Yesterday, shares rallied again, pushing up more than 2% to meet resistance at $35, a level that's just shy of the stock's 52-week high.
With share prices just below the top of their price channel, chances for a breakout could be better than most investors realize. Shares have moved above $35 before, but not in any meaningful way. We'll want to see two consecutive opens above that level before going long.
The aptly named
has also been a strong performer this year, eking out 4.4% gains since January on top of a generous 3.57% dividend yield. But much of those gains have been seen in the last couple of weeks - the result of an ascending triangle breakout. This week, shares look to be consolidating before making a secondary push higher.
Waste Management pushed above its long-standing resistance level earlier this month, giving traders an opportunity to profit off of a highly predictable pattern. This week, we'll want to see shares consolidate and bleed off momentum to avoid registering as overbought.
Shares should maintain price levels above $35 support in the near term. They're close to that level now, so keeping Waste Management's head above water will be critical to taking advantage of a secondary rally. Once the snapback effects of the most recent push higher are gone, this stock should have little trouble breaking through to retest a 52-week high.
With an uptick in travel spending in 2010,
is finding itself as one of the biggest beneficiaries. The company is the leader in online travel by a wide margin, and shareholders have been rewarded with hefty capital gains and a small dividend payout. The former could continue rolling on this month, as shares enjoy 52-week high status.
Expedia broke out into a 52-week high earlier this month, a move that essentially frees the stock of any upside resistance. When a stock makes new highs, nearly all investors are sitting on gains, significantly reducing the selling pressure. With a bullish moving average crossover to help catalyze a move in the near term, I'd recommend buying Expedia on its next push higher.
To see these plays in action, check out the
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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.