International Paper Co (NYSE: IP)

International Paper Company operates as a paper and packaging company in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The company operates through three segments: Industrial Packaging, Printing Papers, and Consumer Packaging. The Industrial Packaging segment manufactures container boards, including linerboard, medium, whitetop, recycled linerboard, recycled medium, and saturating kraft. The Printing Papers segment produces printing and writing papers, such as uncoated papers for end use applications, including brochures, pamphlets, greeting cards, books, annual reports, and direct mail, as well as envelopes, tablets, business forms, and file folders. The Consumer Packaging segment offers coated paperboard for various packaging and commercial printing end uses, such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, computer software, and tobacco products under the Everest, Fortress, and Starcote brand name.

Take a look at the 1-year chart of International Paper Co (NYSE: IP) below with the added notations:

1-year chart of International (NYSE: IP)

IP has been stuck within its downtrend for the past year. During the latter half of that trend the $36 price level (blue) has become important to the stock. Not only was the $36 level a support area back in September, and again in December, but that level has also been resistance several times this year.

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The Tale of the Tape: IP has a key level at $36. A trader could enter a long position on a break above $36 with a stop placed under the level. However, if traders are bearish on the stock, a short trade could be made instead on a test of $36.

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