Alpha Natural Resources

My final idea today for a stock that could be ready to trigger a major breakout trade is coal player Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR), a supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal for use in the steel-making process and a supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries across the country. The bears have murdered this stock so far in 2012, with shares down by over 60%.

If you look at the chart for Alpha Natural Resources, you'll notice that this stock has been stuck in a nasty downtrend for the past six months, with shares plunging from over $20 to its recent low of $5.75 a share. During that massive move lower, shares of ANR have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, this stock has started to rebound and some strong upside volume has started to flow in to the name. That rebound has ANR making higher lows recently, and moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade.

Traders should now look for long-biased traders in ANR once it manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $7.27 to $7.84 a share, and then once it takes out its 50-day moving average of $7.90 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that registers near or above its three-month average action of 16,007,300 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for ANR to re-test and possibly take out its next significant overheard resistance levels at $9.74 to $11 a share. It's even possible that ANR could hit $12 to $13 a share if we get a powerful rebound driven by short covering.

This is another heavily shorted breakout candidate, since the current short interest as a percentage of the float for ANR is 13%. The short-sellers have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 24.7%, or by about 5.5 million shares. If the bears are caught pressing their bets near the lows, then ANR could see a powerful rebound develop.

One could look to buy ANR off weakness and simply use a stop right below $6.50 a share, or even down around $6.15 a share. One could also just buy off strength once ANR clears $7.24 to $7.84 a share, and then add more above its 50-day at $7.90 a share, with a stop just below $7.20 a share.

To see more breakout candidates, check out the Breakout Stocks of the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.

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