BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- The market's recent slide has been fuelled by economic data and market fundamentals. Do this week's new numbers change anything? Positive jobless claim data helped buoy the market into a second consecutive day of gains yesterday, as both initial and continuing claims rang in below Wall Street's expectations -- but not by much.

The Bank of England and European Central Bank maintained the status quo by keeping their rates unchanged, as expected. But the real news for equity investors was June's same-store sales. Many retailers saw comparable sales numbers drop in June, a bad omen for the second half of 2010. Where we'd seen the markets reacting to unexpectedly good earnings numbers in the early part of the year, expectations are now becoming overblown and companies are falling short left and right.

As long as stocks continue to underperform fundamentally, investors can expect to see their market returns languish. But since we can't change the economic situation right now, let's look to lock in gains with the technicals instead.

Technical analysis uses a stock's price movements to determine where shares are headed in the future. Technical charts are used every day by proprietary trading floors, the Street's biggest financial firms and individual investors to get an edge on the market. And according to some sources, skilled technical traders can bank gains as much as 90% of the time.

Here's this week's look at how some of the biggest names on Wall Street are trading technically.
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Big three bank JPMorgan ( JPM) has had no shortage of turbulence in recent years, but things are starting to shake out in this firm's favor thanks to strong performance from its investment banking arm.

The feather in JPMorgan's cap is Bear Stearns, the once-storied investment bank that Morgan swallowed at fire sale prices in the first of the Fed's subprime bailouts. With the added investment banking ammunition that Bear Stearns brought to Morgan Stanley's business (toxic assets removed), JPMorgan is minimizing the housing market hurt right now.

But that's not the whole story. Retail banking and consumer lending businesses continue to be a drag on earnings - at least for now. That's evident from the fact that this bank has been locked in a downtrend since it announced first-quarter earnings in April. But things could be about to change, at least in the short term. With shares sitting right underneath resistance and a nice wide moving average spread to move up into, J.P. Morgan could be facing good upside on some sort of catalyst.

That catalyst may come next week when the firm announces its second-quarter 2010 earnings. Frankly, I'd avoid attempting to make a technical trade on this company until after earnings. If quarterly numbers push shares above the blue line, it's time to jump on board for a ride to the 200-day moving average.
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Household products behemoth Procter & Gamble ( PG) has managed to keep its value better than most in this market.

Thick, recession-resistant margins and a generous dividend yield have been two of the biggest reasons why this nearly $180 billion company has outperformed the broad market by nearly 6% year-to-date.

Procter hit support earlier this week, creating what's known as a "triple bottom," a support level that's held up to downward pressure three times. That's a bullish move for the stock, particularly amid less-than-favorable economic headwinds right now. More importantly, however, Procter is pushing above three key resistance levels: two moving averages and downtrending resistance. That combination sets this stock up for an upward charge.

With Procter right above support and only a hair away from its 52-week high, the opportunity to reach a new high is very real. I'd buy shares if they can clear the 200-day moving average -- but place a stop right below support.
Who Owns Procter & Gamble?

Oil and gas giant PetroChina ( PTR) is continuing its rampage for growth right now, expanding its reach in Australia through a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A).

But it's the company's massive footprint in China that makes it interesting right now. As China's thirst for energy continues, this local player will continue to get favorable treatment -- in no small part because it's 86% owned by the Chinese government.

On a technical front, this stock has been all over the place in recent months. In early June, shares of PetroChina formed a bullish inverse head-and-shoulders pattern, which sent the value of PTR up 18% in just three weeks. They've since settled down on the 50-day moving average and are consolidating. High overhead resistance means that shares could reasonably make their way back up to the $118 level in the near term.

If you want to play this trade, I'd recommend waiting for the first leg up off of the 50-day and placing a stop loss right below it, at around $109. If PTR blows through this support level, there won't be much stopping it from falling back down to May's lows.
More on PetroChina

To see this week's trades in action, check out the High Volume Technicals portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


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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

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