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A rise in a security's price above a resistance level (commonly its previous high price) or a drop below a level of support (commonly the former lowest price.) A breakout is taken to signify a continuing move in the same direction. Can be used by technical analysts as a buy or sell indicator.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


1. In technical analysis, a situation in which the price of a security rises above a resistance level. The resistance level is a price above which a security only rarely climbs. This is a highly bullish signal because it indicates the price likely will continue to rise until it finds another resistance level.

2. In technical analysis, a situation in which the price of a security falls below a support level. The support level is a price below which a security only rarely drops. This is a highly bearish signal because it indicates the price likely will continue to fall until it finds another support level.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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The advance of a stock price above a resistance level, or the fall of a stock price below a support level. A breakout, especially one on relatively heavy volume, indicates to technicians that the security is about to make a major price movement in the direction indicated by the breakout. Thus, if a breakout is upward, a major upward price movement can be expected. A breakout on relatively low volume is suspect. See also break through, congestion area.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


Stock prices fluctuate constantly, but each stock typically moves within a fairly narrow range. That means the stock's average price changes gradually, if at all. But sometimes a stock's price breaks out of its limits, and jumps or tumbles suddenly.

Usually the breakout is fueled by a particular event. The company may realize a commercial success, such as a drug company discovering a new cure for a major disease. Or a breakout may reflect a financial development, such as a new alliance with a successful partner.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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