With a market that continues to press lower without respite, it's getting harder and harder to find anything you can buy today that isn't a loser tomorrow. Now, as prices push lower eventually there will be bargains to be had. But at what level? That's always the issue and always the catch.

Here's a stock under $5 that is a reasonable idea for buying as it comes back in -- LaBranche ( LAB). It operates as a registered broker-dealer and as a market-maker in options, futures, and exchange-traded funds. Back in January, the stock got a huge pop when LaBranche signed a definitive agreement to sell its New York Stock Exchange specialist business for $25 million to Barclays ( BCS). It freed up quite a bit of capital and the stock reacted to that. As LAB drifts back into the area where the gap lays in waiting, this is not a bad place to think about taking on some shares.

As always, let's take a look at the stock's three time frames -- the long-term, intermediate-term and short-term views.

In the case of LAB, the long-term time frame offers the best view as it shows a very long-term downtrend that was in effect for more than four years.

That changed this year with a transition from bearish to confirmed sideways. Confirmed sideways tells us that it will be harder to return to a bearish trend now. That's a good thing to know. It doesn't mean it can't happen, but that is less likely. What is more likely is a consolidation period followed by a retest of the recent highs. Those highs were at $6. The current price is about 30% cheaper.

Note that the resistance band is not going to be easy to get through on this time frame. In fact, the trade here is not to think about a long-term bullish trend but just a retest of the recent highs. That, in and of itself, is plenty to shoot for.

On the daily chart we see signs of strength, indications that one or more larger buyers are willing to support the stock.

Some of the pop in those spikes higher are probably a result of short-covering, but short interest is unduly high in this name.

The real story of where and how to trade LAB is shown on the weekly chart.

The gap-up area occurred on the sale of its market-making operations on the NYSE back in January. That area is the fail-safe. It is the stop out area if the trade turns sour. To come back to the edge of the gap is common and to be expected, especially in a stock that has struggled for so long. The stock should not fall into the gap area and sink much more than just slightly lower. If it does, then it will seek the bottom of the gap. So the gap boundary can be used to protect the trade. Support is evident in the $3.75 to $4.10 area and that is where you should pick at the stock if it is of interest to you or add to a position if you already have one established.

In this market, it is hard to find a stock that offers good upside opportunities, trades under $5 and isn't a disaster waiting to happen. LAB offers a decent upside trade in a difficult market.

Until next time, keep trading the charts!

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

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

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