Buckle Your Seat Belt: Gary Goes Tech

Our favorite technician checks out your favorite sector.
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Well, did I live up to my billing? Were the past week's columns an "unforgettable Gar"?? Well, agree or disagree, they were fun to write, and it was fun to hear from many of you. Even those who called me the idiot!

But if there's one thing you learn from years of selling, it's this: You gotta know when to shut up. Unfortunately, I can't exactly shut up, but I can get off the soapbox. So, for now it's back to the charts. Tune in today, tomorrow and, especially, Monday as I tackle those zany Internet stocks myself!!

Questions, queries, quandaries and quarrels can all be swiftly resolved by dialing in to

technicalforum@thestreet.com. I can't get to every question, but darn it, I promise to handle at least 10% of what I receive. And folks, that's a bargain at any price!

Longtime Reader

Hi Gary, I've been reading your forum for a long time, but I'm still terrible at reading charts. Could you pretty please take a look at the Broadcom (BRCM) chart? I bought it in January at just about the high, and every time I think it's going to break out it falls back down. In your professional opinion, is there any chance for a real breakout soon? Or should I kick it out? It looks to me as though it's trying. Thank you in advance,
Linda Jacobs

Baffled

Hey Gar! All I can say is that I wish I found your column months ago!! I'm distressed over iTurf (TURF) and baffled over 3Com (COMS) . I could really pick 'em, can't I? When do you think 3Com will show signs of life, and is it a good buy now? Why is iTurf going down when other IPOs coming out at the same time are holding, if not gaining? P. Blazar

PB, for today, I'll tackle COMS.

New World Order

Hi, Gary, I started to read your articles a few days ago and I must admit I like a lot the way you explain things in this strange but powerful Net world. I am focusing holding positions in CMGI (CMGI) since 95, 107 and 130. I like a lot this stock and the May 27 split is my short-term target. How do you see it doing in the next days, though, when we saw an increased volatility last week? David Baum

Death and Taxes

I always look forward to your comments on TSC. I am interested to know what role taxes should play in the decision to sell. I typically hold a stock three to six months. Also, can you recommend a good primer on technical analysis? Thanks in advance,
Evan Molho

Evan, my take on taxes and trading is this: I totally ignore them and focus on profits. Part of this philosophy is how I view my trading. And that is as "my job," where I'm simply trying to make the most I can each year.

In addition, though, part of this is driven by my personality. Believe me, if I were capable of holding great stocks for years and years (

a la

Buffett), then the trade-off between the capital-gains tax and the ordinary income tax would certainly be a consideration. It just depends on what you can live with and what methodology maximizes your profits over your trading "career."

As for a primer on reading, please see my Dec. 2

column. Some good books in there.

Jumping In

Gary, I must say, I really enjoy reading your column. I enjoy learning about TA. I am ready to make my first jump into tech stocks with Lucent (LU) . I think the chart looks good for a few points of increase. Or maybe it's too soon to say. Does it need more "support"? GT Murphy

What You Want

Hi, Gary, I am interested in trading the S&P sectors on the Amex. Also the Nasdaq 100. I think it is a more conservative way to be in the best sectors and out of the worst. Isn't that what everybody wants? From your technical work can you look at some of these charts over the next few weeks and give me your analysis? Perhaps start with tech, consumer cyclicals, etc. Also the QQQ. Ideally, can you identify the early stages of when to be in or out? Enjoy your column. Keep it up! Ron Dunn

Ron, let's tackle QQQ as that's one that has gained a lot of attention lately.

Strange Days

What a strange week last week! Sun Microsystems (SUNW) - Get Report, EMC (EMC) and Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report broke down and AOL (AOL) , dare I say, looks like it might! Meanwhile in valueland, I see major breakouts, the most amazing of which is the worst four-letter word on Wall Street -- REIT! I saw what looked like breakouts (or should I say a pulse) from Vornado (VNO) - Get Report and Simon Property (SPG) - Get Report. Now I see Buffett is buying MGI Properties (MGI) - Get Report and Tanger (SKT) - Get Report. Would you care to take a look at any of these REITs and estimate what kind of upside you see from here? (Sorry for using the four-letter word -- I hope the editors at TSC permit such language!) Dan Fisher

Dan, if it's good enough for WB, it's good enough for me. Therefore, I'll tackle SKT, the best-looking of the REIT charts.

Cashing Out

Gary, Enjoy your work and looking forward to your upcoming trades in the Internet sector. What do you think Cybercash (CYCH) ? It looks like it's forming a nice ascending triangle. What's the near-term upside in your opinion? Thanks,
Derek Tinnin

Request Night

Gary,
I know you just answered a request from me in your column, but if you get enough requests, could you take a crack at AOL or E*Trade (EGRP) for me? I issued a "strong buy" to my brother on AOL, and it promptly tanked 20 points. Have kept mum on all further picks until I get some "wind beneath my wings." Thanks in advance,
Jim Bufkins

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication he had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith also writes Technician's Take, which appears every Monday, and Charted Territory, which runs Wednesdays. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@ibm.net.