While the markets appear to be fighting to find a bottom, I continue to cull for longer-term patterns in anticipation of better times ahead. While we may be in the clutches of a summer slowdown, I am always vigilant to keep a several watch lists handy in the event that volatility increases. One list will have shorter-term swing names at my disposal. These are based on the daily chart and this list is updated a couple of times a week.
The other list I keep looks at weekly patterns through a much larger lens. When I do the weekly chart work, I am looking for monster breaks of multi-year levels of support or resistance. Sometimes this comes in the form of new highs or new lows. At other times it may merely be a breakout from many months of consolidation. The names highlighted below fit this latter pattern.
Click to enlargeQuicksilver Resources
(KWK) has been in a wedge pattern going into its second year. Primarily a natural gas play, KWK is currently enjoying support at a flat-lining 50-week moving average. Because of the duration of sideways consolidation in KWK, the lack of slope in the moving average does not concern me in the least. If the overall averages pick up steam, I will be looking for weekly patterns such as this one in KWK.
There are two key levels I am watching in KWK. The first would be $15.06 which corresponds to recent highs in May 2011. On a break of this area I would be inclined to consider a half position in KWK. The second area of resistance is a bigger level, and I would wait for a break of $16.02 to complete the KWK buy. Recent lows in mid April of $13.00 would provide an excellent place to put a stop.
Click to enlargeLTX-Credence
(LTXC) has provided traders quite the ride over the past several years as it plummeted from 2007 highs losing 95% of its value in the way down. Just as quickly however, it staged a monster V-shaped reversal that recouped half of those losses. Since early 2010, the action has been a bit more subdued allowing a base pattern to emerge.
While a bit difficult to see on the chart above, LTXC may have formed a double bottom on the weekly. The next step in the process for LTXC will be to break through the overhead resistance going back to those 2007 highs. The psychological impact of LTXC breaking the level around $9.40 could be immense. With a stop below the double bottom around $7.80, LTXC will make my short list once it takes out that overhead resistance.
Click to enlarge
Electronic parts maker Flextronics
(FLEX) has an interesting pattern going that traces back to mid-2009. For most of this time, FLEX has been in a channel between $6.30 and $8.50. Drawing in those parameters, it is easy to see the support that FLEX garners at the low end of this range. Add in support from the 50-week moving average and FLEX looks attractive at these levels.
If a trader wanted to play for a bounce back to the top of the channel, the current risk reward is excellent. Since I am looking for a much larger move on a wider time frame, I will wait for FLEX to at least move back into the mid-point of the channel. $7.70 would be an area that I would consider starting a partial position, and adding on it with a break above the upper channel line. A stop should be considered around $6.50.
Patterns that develop on charts are nothing more than a consensus of price over time. These patterns reflect the reality of what traders are willing to pay for a security at any given moment. When prices find equilibrium the chart flattens out and many time traders lose interest and move on to more volatile issues. Once prices reach the outer limits of this equilibrium, they either reflexively pull back to a central tendency or they draw more attention and embark on a fresh move. Although the indexes are currently struggling to find their own footing, keep an eye on these bases as they get close to breaking new ground. Many times a flurry of buying on the break will produce the opportunity for some quick profits.
No positions in stocks mentioned.