If I had said last week that Italy – Italy! – would be on verge of falling apart this week, you would have thought the markets would have collapsed.

Well, the Italy scenario played out… and stocks moved UP 1.4%. Typical, I guess.

In any event, support did hold and the markets rebounded nicely both Thursday and Friday. That still puts us firmly in the bull camp with that old resistance (see below) -- a nice target for an intermediate run.

This week, let’s look at my favorite pattern: breakouts. These are stocks that have broken some kind of congestion on high volume, reestablished their upward momentum, and are headed toward higher highs.

One I like is Genco Shipping & Trading (GNK), which had a textbook breakout.

The other is Charming Shoppes (CHRS); and I’m hoping this breakout bodes well for the bulk of the retail sector.

Okay, I suppose the holiday countdown kind of begins now. Let’s hope Santa has an early start and gives the markets a further push higher.

Gary B. Smith joined FOX News Channel in 1999 and is currently a regular commentator on "Bulls & Bears," including his own segment called, "The Chartman."