BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Tech stocks are gaining strength this summer. Heck, even Wall Street whipping boy Apple ( AAPL) has managed to best the broad market's advance since the correction hit the brakes in late June. That's saying something.

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And that technology stock outperformance isn't showing any signs of abating. In fact, as earnings season heats up, investors should expect the tech sector to continue to gain steam. On a relative strength basis, it's the most attractive place to park your cash by far.

That's why we're taking a technical look at the trading setups brewing five tech stocks today.

For the unfamiliar, technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action 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.

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So without further ado, let's take a look at five technical setups worth trading now.

ON Semiconductor

2013 has been a decent year for ON Semiconductor ( ONNN); shares of the mid-cap chipmaker have more or less paced the broad market's climb year-to-date. But zoom out a bit, and this stock looks primed for a much bigger move in the latter half of the year. Here's how to trade it.

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For all of 2013, ON Semiconductor has been trading in an ascending triangle pattern, a price setup formed by a horizontal resistance level at $8.70 and uptrending support to the downside. Essentially, as ONNN bounces in between those two technically important levels, it's getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout trade above $8.70. When that breakout happens, we've got a buy signal for shares.

The long-term nature of ONNN's pattern has some similarly long-term trading implications for investors. This stock has been consolidating in its ascending triangle for six months now -- and investors should count on a similar-length move after the breakout happens.


The last time we looked at software maker Autodesk ( ADSK), things weren't looking so hot. Shares of the $8 billion firm were looking "toppy" after forming a head and shoulders pattern -- and downside looked likely. Now that the pattern has run its course, it makes sense to start thinking like a buyer again.

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The head and shoulders pattern in Autodesk was textbook: Shares formed the bearish pattern between January and the end of May, breaking below its neckline at $36 just as the floor fell out of the S&P 500. But the recent recovery in stocks has helped to soften the blow from Autodesk's downside move, stopping the selling short of its $31 downside target.

While shares fell double-digits from the neckline to their June lows, it could have been a lot worse.

Now, with shares of ADSK testing a breakout back above that $36 neckline level, it makes sense to start thinking like a buyer again. A bullish momentum breakout in shares adds some extra strength to ADSK's upside potential from here. But if you decide to be a buyer, make sure you keep a tight protective stop in place.


ViaSat ( VSAT) has seen some interesting price action over the course of the last 12 months. Since January, this satellite network stock has basically stair-stepped its way higher, staging a series of big breakouts after long consolidations. With shares looking near the end of their latest sideways slug, VSAT is definitely worth a second look.

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In technical parlance, VSAT is forming a rectangle pattern, a price setup formed by horizontal resistance to the upside and horizontal support to the downside of shares. Right now, resistance comes into play at $72.50 and support is down at $68.50. When shares break out of that channel, the high-probability trade comes from placing a bet in the direction of that breakout. Previously, VSAT's rectangle breakouts have been fast-paced large-moves over the course of an entire trading session. That's good ready to be ready to buy early on this stock's next move.

Whenever you're looking at any technical price pattern, it's critical to think in terms of buyers and sellers. Triangles, rectangles, and other price pattern names are a good quick way to explain what's going on in this stock, but they're not the reason it's tradable. Instead, it all comes down to supply and demand for shares.

That resistance line at $72.50, for example, is a price where there's an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it's a place where sellers have been more eager to take recent gains and sell their shares than buyers have been to buy. That's what makes the move above it so significant -- a breakout indicates that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level. Wait for that signal to happen before you jump into this stock.


TripAdvisor ( TRIP) shareholders are having a good year; shares of the $8.6 billion online travel site have rallied more than 44% since the calendar flipped over to January. And now this stock looks poised for more upside in July.

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You don't have to be an expert technical analyst to see what's going on here; a glance at TRIP's chart should do. Since back in November, TRIP has been trading in a well-defined uptrending channel, bouncing in between trendline support and resistance. That channel provides a high probability range for TripAdvisor's price action -- shares are likely to stay within those lines.

As you might expect, the best time to be a buyer in TRIP is on a bounce off of support. Buying off a support bounce makes sense for two big reasons: it's the spot where shares have the furthest to move up before they hit resistance, and it's the spot where the risk is the least (because shares have the least room to move lower before you know you're wrong). With shares testing support this week, I'd suggest being a buyer on the next white bar higher. Just keep a protective stop at the 50-day moving average.

Lam Research

We're seeing the exact same setup in shares of Lam Research ( LRCX) right now. Like TRIP, Lam has been forming an uptrending channel since all the way back in late 2012. That's significant because, while the S&P broke its trendline late last month, Lam and TripAdvisor haven't. That relative strength is worth taking note of right now - especially because relative strength continues to fuel outsized returns on a statistical basis.

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But you might want to wait a bit before jumping into shares of LRCX. Right now, this semiconductor supplier is sitting near the top of its channel - it makes sense to wait for a move back down to the lower bound of the channel before becoming a buyer. An RSI reading of 35 has been an early indication of a bounce in RSI; if Lam's momentum gauge breaks down into oversold territory, watch for price action to follow suit.

To see this week's trades in action, check out the Technical Setups for the Week 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, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to
TheStreet . Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily , and on Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji