ICON PLC (NASDAQ: ICLR)

ICON Public Limited Company, a contract research organization, provides outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries in Ireland, rest of Europe, the United States, and internationally. It develops, manages, and analyzes programs that support various stages of the clinical development process from compound selection to Phase I-IV clinical studies. The company also offers clinical trials management, biometric activities, consulting, imaging, contract staffing, informatics, and laboratory services.

Take a look at the 1-year chart of ICON (NASDAQ: ICLR) below with my added notations:

1-year chart of ICON (NASDAQ: ICLR)

ICLR has formed a clear resistance at $80 (red) over the last month, and that $80 level has also been support prior. In addition, the stock has been climbing a trend line of support (green) since the end of August. These two levels combined have ICLR 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: ICLR is trading within an ascending triangle. A long trade could be made at the trendline support or on a break above $80. 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!

Good luck!

Christian Tharp, CMT

Follow me on Twitter: @cmtstockcoach