Forget Apple: 5 More Big Stocks to Trade for Gains
After the iPhone maker's blowout earnings after the bell on Tuesday, the world's largest company has been grabbing the headlines nonstop -- and reigniting a debate on Wall Street over how high shares of the tech giant can soar. Well, guess what: I'm not talking about Apple today.
I bring it up, though, because the Apple story is relevant for the bigger picture. The company makes up 4% of the S&P 500 and a whopping 12% of the NASDAQ Composite -- so a big move in everyone's favorite iStock guarantees a big day for Mr. Market. And that's just what he needed.
The S&P in particular has had a hard time pushing above an important resistance level at 1390 in spite of the fact that the market is looking "cheap" right now . Today's 1.4% gain in the S&P could be just the jar that market participants needed to make the shift from correction mode back into rally mode. After spending most of April consolidating, the index might just be ready for its next leg up.
To take full advantage of that possible shift, we'll take a technical look at how some of the biggest names on Wall Street are trading right now.
If you're new to technical analysis , here's the executive summary:
Technicals are a study of the market itself. Since the market is ultimately the only mechanism that determines a stock's price, technical analysis is a valuable tool even in the roughest of trading conditions. Technical charts are used every day by proprietary trading floors, Wall Street's biggest financial firms, and individual investors to get an edge on the market. And research shows that skilled technical traders can bank gains as much as 90% of the time.
Every week, we take an in-depth look at large-cap stocks that are telling important technical stories. Here's this week's look at the technicals of five must-see stocks .
First up is pharma giant Merck(MRK) , a stock that's having a solid run in the past six months. Shares of the $117 billion drugmaker are up close to 17% over that time. A technical pattern in shares right now points to even more upside in shares.
The pattern to watch in Merck is an ascending triangle, a formation that's identified by horizontal resistance to the upside of shares at $39 and uptrending support below. Essentially, as MRK bounces in between those two price levels, it's getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above resistance; that breakout above $39 is our buy signal.
The ascending triangle in MRK tells us two important things: first, resistance indicates that there's a glut of supply of shares at the $39 level. In other words, $39 is a price where sellers have historically been more eager to sell and take gains than buyers were to buy. The other important factor in the ascending triangle is uptrending support -- it tells us that, at this point, buyers are in control of shares. The high-probability trade comes when that glut of supply gets absorbed and shares push through that price level.