Is one $4 billion energy company gearing up for a bullish breakout?
That's what “Talking Numbers” reader Blake Cassidy asked, tweeting:
For those wondering, a cup and handle pattern is a bullish formation. It's where a stock drops a bit to build a base before climbing back up to its previous top (the "cup"). It then drops down again, but not as far as before (creating a "handle"), only to break out above the cup's peaks.
As for the stock, Ultra Petroleum has been on a roller-coaster ride in 2014. Although shares in the oil and gas company are up 22 percent so far this year, it's down 14 percent since its highs earlier in April.
There are a lot of investors betting on Ultra Petroleum's stock collapsing. Last week, Goldman Sachs noted that the stock ranks 30th among companies over $1 billion with the largest short interest as a percent of market cap. With short interest at 24 percent of market cap, Ultra Petroleum is in the same territory as Herbalife and U.S. Steel.
But, is Ultra Petroleum's stock showing a bullish cup and handle? Perhaps not, says Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson. However, Ross sees other evidence of bullishness in the charts.
"That's what's great about technical analysis – it's as much an art as it is a science," said Ross, a "Talking Numbers" contributor. "While I might not see a cup and handle in the chart, I do like it from the long side."
In a six-month chart of Ultra Petroleum, Ross sees shares as having pulled back to their 100-day moving average right at a critical support line, both of which have held. His five-year chart of Ultra Petroleum shows the stock breaking above a long-term downtrend line, its 200-week moving average, and a major resistance level around $23.85 per share.
"When we look even longer term, the story actually gets even better for UPL," Ross said. "We've broken out from a two-year head and shoulders base of support. That's quite bullish… Given that 16 percent pullback as of late, this could be a nice entry point for a longer-term technical setup. I actually like the stock here."
Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, also thinks Ultra Petroleum is headed higher.
United Petroleum "has been suffering a little bit from the volatility of natural gas, which is the majority of their business," said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. "But, they recently made a purchase in Utah for a very large oil field, and they're starting to make more of an oil play."
Sanchez said that although United Petroleum's oil extraction has underperformed, the company's margins are positive.
"From a fundamental point of view, this is actually a very positive story," Sanchez added. "This pullback does represent an interesting opportunity."
To see the full discussion on United Petroleum, with Ross on the technicals and Sanchez on the fundamentals, watch the above video.