Name Your Own Price

It’s hard to believe in the early 2000’s Priceline stock (PCLN) fell more than 99%, bottoming 2x in 2001 and again 2003 at a weekly close under $8/share. A little luck (the internet boom) and a major business model overhaul has pushed the stock on a relentless path higher, currently testing all-time highs above $1350/share  

In the weekly chart below, it’s clear to see why this stock has been a long-time dream for trend followers as it has stayed above its rising trend line for years. Like all investments it goes through consolidation periods, the first one on this chart was a sideways channel that lasted 11 months from April 2011 through Feb 2012. Once it broke out from the channel it rose ~40% in less than 3 months and started its next consolidation. The second consolidation formed a saucer (or cup and handle) pattern and lasted about 13 months finally breaking out in May of 2013. From that point price rose ~80% in 10 months, peaking in March of last year. Since then, price has again been consolidating and once again formed another saucer pattern. Notice how each of the moves out of consolidation higher create an overbought RSI momentum condition (in the upper pane). While overbought conditions are good as they are the hallmark of strong trends, they also have a limited life and eventually need to be unwound. The unwinding process allows the bulls to go reload. During that reloading process bulls want to see the RSI reading stay above 40, otherwise it is at risk for a direction change.

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As a trend follower, strongly upward trending stocks that are consolidating and have not yet broken out are the frosting on our cake.  A break above the current upper horizontal resistance line supported with increasing volume would trigger a model buy signal. Of course, price could just as easily reverse course and begin a new bear market.  There just are no guarantees. Most likely we will find out our answer to this question very soon as they are set to release their latest earnings announcement on Nov. 9th. Based upon the chart patterns and the market’s reactions to past earnings I am leaning heavily toward this consolidation being the pause before its next leg higher.