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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's unusual for a stock to give hints about its direction as an earnings-release date draws near. A stock often will run up to resistance or trade lower into support, but rarely does it break out.


(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report

, which releases quarterly results today, did just that.

The operator of the world's most popular search engine has a lot brewing. I'm particularly encouraged at how its Android operating system for smartphones has made enormous inroads in such a short period, opening up another area for advertising revenue. Google TV appears to have great possibilities, too.

On Monday, Google shares broke out and through resistance, clearing a major hurdle on both short- and intermediate-term time frames. Well, kind of. Here's the daily chart showing the clean break.

You can see that the breakout was accompanied by a surge in volume as compared to the swing point it was breaking. Yesterday, with the general market weak, Google pulled back but held the breakout area.

The weekly chart is where the "kind of" remark comes in. It shows the attempted breakout as well but you can't just assume that Google will hold on to the higher price points on a weekly basis nor can you assume that volume will expand to greater than the volume witnessed back on the week of Nov. 8 or the first week of January 2010.

For the sake of argument, let's say that earnings are well-received and Google trades even higher after its conference call. You would expect that volume will be heavy on Friday and that would confirm the breakout on the weekly chart as well as the daily one.

Currently the daily and weekly charts are confirmed bullish, and I doubt seriously if this earnings report will change that. The long-term chart, however, remains sideways and that is the last hurdle to jump. As you can see on that chart, if Google were to stay over these swing point highs on a monthly basis, the trend there would finally change to bullish too.

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The all-time highs are at $747, and if Google's earnings propel it higher at this time, that would be the target. If it trades lower, given the trend and volume flows, it appears that it would amount to nothing more than building strength to make a run at those highs later on. Either way, it looks to me as if it is just a matter of time before those highs are probed once more.

Going into earnings, I would consider the following approach. First off, I wouldn't be buying the stock before earnings. Just wait. If you are long, you should sit tight. If you believe in the company and agree with the technical assessment, then if prices do trade lower as a result of earnings, it would be a good time to add additional shares or start a new position.

Looking back at the weekly chart, the initial buy point is the high from the week of Oct. 11, when Google last reported earnings. That price point is $601. This is a volatile stock, though, and it could easily trade all the way back to the low registered at the end of November and still be a buy. That price point is $553. Worst case, a full retrace to the $537 breakout bar low would still be a buy. I have a hard time thinking it will trade back there, but you have to plan for everything when trading.

As you can see, if you want to buy into Google, do so gingerly with the idea of buying more than once at wide price intervals. You'll likely be rewarded down the road if you do so.

At the time of publication, Little was long GOOG, though positions can change at any time.

L.A. Little, author, professional trader and money manager, writes daily on

, a free educational site for traders and investors. He has been featured in numerous publications and is the author of

Trade Like The Little Guy


His background includes degrees in philosophy, computer science, computer information systems and telecommunications. With a trading philosophy centered on capital protection first and the accumulation of consistent gains over time, L.A. espouses a simplistic technical approach to trading the markets that is a throwback to the days of past. With a focus on swing points and the qualification of trends, L.A. provides a breath of fresh air to an otherwise crowded room of derivative indicators with the emphasis on technical minutiae.