Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. It offers cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars principally under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal, Husky, and Marlboro Snus brand names. The company also produces and sells blended table wines under the Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, and 14 Hands names; and imports and markets Antinori and Villa Maria Estate wines, as well as Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in the United States. In addition, it provides finance leasing services primarily in aircraft, rail and surface transport, electric power, real estate, and manufacturing industries. The company sells its tobacco products primarily to wholesalers, including distributors; large retail organizations, such as chain stores; and the armed services.
Take a look at the 1-year chart of Altria (NYSE: MO) below with my added notations:
MO has formed a clear resistance at $53 (red) over the last 2 months. In addition, the stock has been climbing a short-term, trend line of support (green) since the end of April. These two levels combined had MO stuck within a common chart pattern known as an ascending triangle. Eventually, the stock will have to break one of those levels.
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The Tale of the Tape: MO is trading within an ascending triangle. A long trade could be made at the trendline support or on a break above $53. A break below trendline would be an opportunity to enter a short trade.
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!
Christian Tharp, CMT
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