Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTEN)

Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides onshore contract drilling services to major and independent oil and natural gas operators in the United States and Canada. The company offers pressure pumping services that consist of well stimulation and cementing for completion of new wells and remedial work on existing wells, as well as hydraulic fracturing, nitrogen, cementing, and acid pumping services in Texas and the Appalachian Basin; and contract drilling services primarily in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, and western and northern Canada. It also owns and invests in oil and natural gas assets located primarily in Texas and New Mexico. As of December 31, 2012, it had a drilling fleet of 314 marketable land-based drilling rigs. Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Before discussing potential trading opportunities, please take a look at the 1-year chart of PTEN (Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc) below with my added notations:

1-year chart of PTEN (Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc)

PTEN had been rallying for most of the last year until March. Over the last (3) months the stock has found support at the $22 level (red). Last week the stock broke that $22 support. The breakdown occurred on a slight increase in volume, which should add validity to the breakdown.

The Tale of the Tape: PTEN has broken its support at $22 and the stock has started moving lower. A short position could be entered on any rallies back up near $22 with a stop placed above that level. A break back above $22 would negate the forecast for a move lower.

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Before making any trading decision, decide which side of the trade you believe gives you the highest probability of success. Do you prefer the short side of the market, long side, or do you want to be in the market at all? If you haven’t thought about it, review the overall indices themselves. For example, take a look at the S&P 500. Is it trending higher or lower? Has it recently broken through a key resistance or support level? Making these decisions ahead of time will help you decide which side of the trade you believe gives you the best opportunities.

No matter what your strategy or when you decide to enter, always remember to use protective stops and you’ll be around for the next trade. Capital preservation is always key!

Good luck!

Christian Tharp, CMT