Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report has been struggling with the heavy resistance zone just below $44 all year. If Coca-Cola fails to close above this key level on Thursday, a third straight monthly high will be in place. The narrowing price action that has dominated trade for the last 10 weeks remains positive but an upside breakout is needed soon. Over the next week or so, investors should monitor the 2015 highs closely. A failure to power through to start the new year could mark an important top.

After last December's steep selloff, which drove the stock over 10% lower, Coke mounted a steady rebound. The stock peaked just below $44 in late January, marking an initial monthly high in this area. Coca-Cola put in another monthly high the next month at $43.65. Until the powerful surge off the Aug. 24 low, the stock remained well below its January/February lows.

In late October, the highs were getting tested once again on very heavy volume. Coke failed to move into new-high territory despite the big bump in trade. A month later, after shares had consolidated near key support, investors began to bid for shares aggressively as the stock mounted a three-day winning streak on well above average trade. Once again the $44 area proved impenetrable. As the year comes to a close, Coke is on the verge of leaving behind five monthly highs just below the $44 level.

In the coming sessions it may prove wise for investors to remain in the sidelines until Coke proves it has the momentum to convincingly take out $44. A close above this level with the help of a nice bump in trade could spark a powerful fresh bull leg. Until then the stock remains listless and at risk of a steep pullback if the bulls become impatient.

On the downside Coke has a very solid layer of support between $42.25 and $41.50. Without new highs soon, this area may be tested again.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long Coca-Cola.