2009 was a banner year for stocks. The S&P 500 rallied 29.8%, nearly three times the historic annual average. But as the latest iteration of the equity rally pushes on, so does investor anxiety over the potential for a second dip in stock prices. Once again, it's time to turn to the technicals of the market for stocks that are set up for a breakout.

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.

But all too often investors don't know where to start. Every week, Stockpickr takes a look at stocks that could be staging a technical move soon and compiles a portfolio of promising Technical Setups.

Here's a look at this week's stocks.

U.S. Steel ( X - Get Report), the second-largest steel producer in the U.S., has been a strong growth story in recent years.

In the last half-decade, the company has managed to nearly double its capacity through acquisitions and take advantage of the commodity boom to supercharge profits as well as shareholder returns.

The company is altering its business plans in 2010, winding down capacity to account for decreased demand that's expected this year. But while the fundamentals don't tell much of a short-term story for the stock, there's a lot to be said in the technicals.

U.S. Steel topped mid-term back in September around $50 per share and tumbled for the following month and a half before bottoming and breaking out past the $50 level to fresh 52-week highs. Right now, a second breakout above the $58 level could be the next breakout for this stock -- one that's bound to take hold in the next two trading days. If shares hold above the green line, consider going long shares of U.S. Steel.

There's a significantly different story brewing with chocolate giant Hershey ( HSY - Get Report).

The company has faced constrained profits and increased competition of late, and with rumors flying high for the industry -- particularly with regard to Kraft's (KFT) planned acquisition of Cadbury ( CBY) -- traders have had plenty of chances to make money on shares of Hershey.

Unfortunately for those long the stock, most of that money has been made lately on the short side. Hershey formed a bearish triple top just over the $41 mark in July, September and October, a sign that shares were headed lower to end the year. Sure enough, they did.

Right now, the stock is being ceilinged in by its 50-day moving average, the average price of Hershey shares over the trailing 50 days, and a significant trading level. With the 50-day heading lower, shares of Hershey should continue to tumble in the immediate future. Consider going short on the next down day after Hershey's next mini-jump.

Low-cost airline carrier Allegiant Travel ( ALGT - Get Report) has seen double-digit revenue growth thanks to its innovative business model offering direct routes from smaller cities to popular vacation destinations and packaged hotel deals.

But despite a slightly more optimistic outlook for the airline industry this quarter and last, shares of Allegiant were trending downward (the red line in the chart above) between September and late November.

That trend was broken in late November (and confirmed, a very strong sign) until very good air traffic numbers in early December prompted a breakout to the blue bands above.

That consolidation points to the potential for a higher breakout in the next week, with a moving average crossover as the catalyst. If shares make their way above the upper blue line and rest on it, it's time to bet on the long side of this airline play.

To see these plays in action, check out the Technical Setups for the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.

At the time of publication, author had no positiosn 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.