Big Caps on the Move: Scanning for Breakouts in the Dow

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It’s pretty quiet today as stocks drift aimlessly before Labor Day. Dog days of summer? More like the sloth days …

Still, some members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average are melting to new highs even as the broader market snoozes in the shade. Here’s a quick tool to follow big names with TradeStation’s RadarScreen® tool.

RadarScreen® showing Dow Members near 52-week highs.

The scan uses a very simple custom indicator called “Distance from 52-week high.” Then I simply import the index by clicking on Data Add Symbol List, and sort on the column.

This can be easier than scanning for new 52-week highs because it will find stocks that are very close but might not have made a new high. And, you can control the universe of tickers very easily. In this case, it only shows members of the Dow.

Apple (AAPL) isn’t much of a surprise if you read about its last earnings report. The smart-phone maker’s doing pretty much everything to boost margins, retain customers and fork over extra cash to shareholders.

Tech giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) has been similar, enhancing its legacy hardware business with stickier and faster-growing cybersecurity offerings.

UnitedHealth (UNH) doesn’t usually get a lot of attention, but it’s been steadily climbing as investors ride a longer-term trend of medical-cost management and enrollments growth lifting profits.

Visa (V) also hit a new high today. Like UNH, it initially fell after reporting decent second quarter results. But momentum buyers remain focused on the longer-term trend of transactions moving away from cash.

Two other companies should be mentioned:

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT): Is actually the Dow’s biggest gainer today, rising almost 2 percent. While it’s nowhere near its 52-week high, the big-box retailer did rip higher on strong earnings two weeks ago.

Square (SQ): Yes, the same electronic-payment stock that’s more than doubled so far this year is more than 3 percent above its previous 52-week high.

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David Russell is VP of Content Strategy at TradeStation. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and analyst, his background includes equities, emerging markets, fixed-income and derivatives. He previously worked at Bloomberg News, CNBC and E*TRADE Financial. Russell systematically reviews countless global financial headlines and indicators in search of broad tradable trends that present opportunities repeatedly over time. Customers can expect him to keep them appraised of sector leadership, relative strength and the big stories – especially those overlooked by other commentators. He’s also a big fan of generating leverage with options to limit capital at risk.