Earn While You Learn: Gary's Back-to-School Stock Shopping List

A look at some of the companies equipping his kids for their return to class.
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I'm writing this Wednesday morning. The market has just opened. And here is my first and only thought:

$%&@$#

Bank of England

! You know, just when we're out of

Fed

watch and earnings season is behind us and things are going relatively smoothly, it pulls this raising-rates

stuff. I mean, where the heck does

that

come from?

OK, got that out of my system. Feeling much better now. Thank you.

Anyway, I think we've had enough of the

Red Hot Index for now. By

profiling the stocks in the index, I'm pretty sure I called a top anyway, so time for me to move on and look at stocks that don't move in 20-point increments. Or, basically, everything else in the stock universe.

The theme for this week: back to school, of course, where I'll take a TA look at some of my favorite haunts of the past few weeks. Or, at least, my kids' favorite haunts, as my role seemed to be bill payer and baggage handler.

First up is a favorite of mine because, with one 30-minute trip, I can nab everything from rulers to protractors to lined notebook paper (wide-ruled only!). In our neck of the woods, the only game in town is

Staples

(SPLS)

, and the store we went to had everything we needed. So, a fundamental thumbs-up. Technically, though, it's another story, and for now a stock I'd stay away from.

The next stock,

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

, proves the power of peer pressure. As my kids explain, if you want to be cool, you have to have the word "Abercrombie" plastered somewhere on your body. Naturally, who am I to stand between them and "cool"?

Interestingly, the chart sends mixed signals. While the weekly, long-term chart is in decent shape, the daily chart, going back the past six months, is a mess. So, as usual, your approach to Abercrombie really depends on your time frame. I like it for an investment. For a short-term trade, though, it looks better on the short side.

But, who can afford those high Abercrombie prices? No, my kids are really more customers of

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

and

Too Inc.

(TOO) - Get Report

, which in August was spun off into a new company by

Limited

(LTD)

. (Honestly, I don't know if those places are cheaper than ANF, but they seem cheaper.) The Gap chart, both long and short term, is almost identical to Abercrombie. So, whatever you decide to do with one should work with the other.

However, the Limited chart is a bit different, so let's look at that. As for Too, it's too early for a meaningful look at that chart.

Finally, this section wouldn't be complete without a brief look at

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

. Am I interested in its semiconductor stuff? Heck, no. It's those now-ubiquitous graphing calculators. They are

de rigueur

, apparently, for every budding

Euclid

in the seventh grade and beyond.

So, not a lot of "buy me right now" stocks. No, like always, you have to be patient and pick your spots. Either that, or start talking to your kids sooner about what's cool.

Reader Request

Finally, I conclude with a request from astute reader,

William B.

:

Gary, Just wondering if you could present a TA for Strategic Diagnostics (SDIX) in your column whenever convenient. FYI, I'm long and trying to decide whether it's time to take some profits.

And, so ends another workweek. But stay tuned for some exciting news: Swim practice kicks off tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. sharp! Wonder how

Speedo

manufacturer,

Authentic Fitness

(ASM) - Get Report

, is doing?

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 held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, 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 writes five technical analysis columns for TheStreet.com each week, including Technician's Take, Charted Territory and TSC Technical Forum. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@ibm.net.