The back-and-forth trade seen over the past couple of weeks has been enough to drive many traders batty. Even our own relatively sane
has bemoaned the down-and-up price action and how
difficult it was to make money during this period of time.
Given such uncertainty, some think that technical analysis could be a good way to determine whether to stay in an individual stock, whether to get out or whether to buy. Elaine Yager, senior technical analyst and vice president with
Herzog Heine Geduld
, stresses that traders need to look at each stock in their portfolios individually to understand their status and not rely on general market direction. She said individuals that go through a broker should be able to ask for technical analysis of their stocks.
"It's just like when you go to the doctor. Would you diagnose yourself, or go to a good doctor?" she asked. "I certainly wouldn't diagnose myself."
Yager said she looks at trend lines, moving averages, the long-term picture, what the stock was purchased for, what you're willing to risk, etc., and that investors should understand that the analysis is constantly changing. Yager said she provides technical analysis for institutional investors and divulged her analysis of
, which broke down yesterday.
Yager said that Microsoft broke down from a bear flag under 85. A bear flag is a straight pole with a wavy consolidation at the lower end of the poll that she said could last up to four weeks, and finalizes with a break below the bottom of the poll. For Microsoft, the length of the poll was from the March 31 high of around 108 down to the April 4 low of 85 (23 points). Once it went below 85 -- which it did on April 11 when it closed at 83 7/8 -- she projected a downside objective of 66 (the 89 high from April 7 minus 23) to 62 (85 minus 23). She said she would be prepared if the market turned, with a stop at the 89 mark, thereby risking 6 points on the upside for a chance to make roughly three times that if it fell to 66 (83 7/8 minus 66). Yager stressed that she was not holding a position in Microsoft at this time.
Today, Microsoft was attempting to recover from yesterday's losses. It was up 2 5/16, or 3.5%, at 68 15/16 in midday trading. A number of Internet stocks were back on the offensive, as some traders covered shorts and others went long, hoping that yesterday's price action was a failed test of the recent lows in the
and that a
bottom could be in place.
Among the leading gainers were many of the Internet infrastructure and business-to-business plays that have been hammered in the recent market downturn.
was up 11 9/16, or 21%, at 65 9/16;
Copper Mountain Networks
was up 7 9/16, or 11%, at 76 1/2;
was up 16 3/8, or 17%, at 115 5/16;
was up 7 3/4, or 12%, at 73 and
was up 7 7/8, or 15%, at 61 7/8.
Among traditional Internet plays,
was up 10 7/8, or 9.5%, at 124 3/4.
was up 5 11/16, or 11%, at 8 3/16;
was up 2 1/8, or 3.7%, at 60 1/8 and
-- who began their summer marketing push today -- was up 1 1/32, or 19%, at 6 1/2.
was up 6 14, or 4.4%, at 148 1/8 -- ahead of its earnings report after the close. The online auctioneer is expected to report a profit of 3 cents a share, according to
First Call/Thomson Financial
, though the whisper number is 5 cents, according to
was up 3 1/2, or 86%, at 7 9/16 after
said that it would be offering mortgages online through E-Loan.