A breakout occurs when a stock's price rises above its resistance level, i.e., a price ceiling at which the stock has previously encountered selling. In our study of winning stocks and their breakouts, we've identified an optimal buy point, which we call the "pivot point." This point usually is found at the end of a sound base pattern, when the stock breaks out into new high ground on a surge of trading volume (at least 50 percent more than average). As the stock clears its old high, it has its greatest chance of moving even higher. The pivot point is not always a new price high, however. In a cup-with-handle base, for example, the pivot usually occurs when the stock goes above the peak in the handle, and this point may be below the stock's old high in some cases.