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From today's "big picture"

With the market in an uptrend, the odds favor the buyers. However, individual investors need to keep four realities in mind:

No. 1: Don't chase late-stage stocks when early-stage stocks are breaking out. Look at the length of a run, too, not just the base count.
Recent breakouts from first-stage patterns include Visa (NYSE:V), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Vistaprint (NASDAQ:VPRT) and (NYSE:CRM).
These stocks have been off most growth investors' radar for a while, which can be good.
In general, investors are wise to look for institutional quality stocks that show a recent change in character for the better.

No. 2: Be aware of which sectors are scoring the most new highs. This can be useful because strength within the new highs list may appear before it shows up in the sector rankings or industry group rankings. Recently, the real estate sector has been delivering the most daily new highs.

No. 3: Be decisive. Many breakouts are not staying long in the 5% buy zone, becoming extended quickly. This is a change from previous market uptrends this year.

No. 4: Reasons to hold a stock involve a lower standard than reasons to buy. Some late-stage breakouts should not be bought, but investors who bought the earlier breakout might want to sit tight. If a stock shows no sell signs, holding the stock is reasonable.
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