BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Increased volatility ruled the market yesterday as the S&P 500 found itself in the biggest single-day losses in the past two months. While the index's 1.01% slide was a big change from the seemingly unstoppable rally that stocks have seen since the start of December, it hardly illustrates the wild price swings seen by stocks in this week's trading.After all, while we've long been overdue for some selling, traders haven't been expecting the bizarre market behavior that characterized yesterday's market session. Heightened buying and selling activity, fueled by earnings data and economic news, is widely increasing stocks' average daily ranges, a factor in the spiking volatility that's sent the CBOE Market Volatility Index, or VIX, up double digits already this week. Volatility isn't a universal signal to exit the markets, though. For technical traders, that increased flux can be a sign that there's money to be made in some of the biggest-name stocks on Wall Street. Related: 3 Stocks Setting Up to Break Out In case you're not familiar, 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.
U.S. BancorpU.S. Bancorp ( USB) carried on the financial industry's mantle yesterday, with heavy selling despite reporting earnings in the premarket that were in line with analyst expectations. Following Wall Street's response to this stock, further downside could be at hand. While USB had looked like a stock with breakout potential, yesterday's trading shifted the company's setup to a less-auspicious double top, a bearish pattern that suggests a reversal in direction. The only positive for USB right now is the relatively close-by support level (S1) at the 50-day moving average. That level should serve as somewhat of a downside barrier to slow the stock. If you decide to bet against shares of U.S. Bancorp, consider placing a protective stop just above its most recent top at $27.50. U.S. Bancorp is one of the top holdings of Warren Buffett, at 3.1% of his total portfolio, and comprises 9.4% of Gleen Greenberg's portfolio at Brave Warrior Capital. Jim Cramer recently included the stock as one of his big banks with long legs, and with a B- buy rating, USB is one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated diversified financial services stocks. 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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