Nearly all year Exxon Mobil (XOM  ) has been unable to get over the $84.50 mark. Since falling hard at the beginning of the year, the stock has not been able to recover. So why look at it from a bullish standpoint? Let's take a look back and see if we can find out what investors are thinking.

Right at the beginning of the year, the stock sold off into correction territory. The selloff came in one fell swoop, so it's understandable why the bulls ran away. For a few months the stock traded sideways in a holding pattern, which is pretty common in situations of such rapid decline.

In August the stock made another push to new lows, again in a more aggressive manner. It is at this point that I think you can see the start of a bullish bias. Why? The stock recovered almost immediately and was back into the range within a few weeks. Even if you weren't bullish at this point, anyone who was bearish likely needed to cover and take their loss.

Now look into the selloff that came in November. This again was a sharp selloff that didn't make it to new lows. This shows that there were fewer sellers this time, so the bulls had less of a hard time to get it back up. This happened again in early December with even less of a selloff.

All this time the same resistance has proven to be solid: $84.50 is the magic number. Given that we know there are fewer sellers than ever before in the name, we would expect that a move over $84.50 would produce a new round of buying that could push the stock higher.

As for the targets, we have to look back at the highs of 2017 which are around $91. The risk-to-reward ratio of this potential investment looks promising enough to keep an eye on. Happy New Year!