Gary Sketches Out a CLEC Trade

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So, you read your Cramer on

March 31, and now you're thinking, "Hey, CLECs

do

sound good. Maybe this is a buying opportunity for me. I mean, if Cramer is averaging down, then that's a good sign, right?" So, you ring up your broker -- or perhaps more appropriately, you log on to your broker -- and put in your order to buy 1,000 shares at the market. "WHACK THAT BID!" you scream at your computer. Or, who knows? Maybe it was MAKE THAT BED! (Personally, I'm always getting this trader talk confused.) Regardless, you're running your own little hedge fund -- and, it should be noted, kicking the behind of

Cramer Berkowitz

-- so if they're in, then damn it, you're in! You have your own Trading Goddess to answer to, and it's time to start making some money!!

Well, hold on there Sparky, that's Cramer's strategy. Maybe he's.....WRONG. Maybe he's made a mistake. Maybe this one time, and one time only, he's going to get nailed, and buddy, by tagging along, you're going to follow him straight down to the poorhouse. Uh, oh -- what to do? Is there a voice of sanity out there? A nonemotional trading machine, whose track record is unblemished by nary a miscue in the last 10,127 trades? Well, of course there is, my friend. It's me! The Master Trader. No mistakes. No errors. No men left on. I am more than happy to come to your service and tell you exactly what to do. Even better, I'll tell you exactly when to do it. Stick with me, kid, and we'll be rolling in the dough. And don't worry, we won't have to share a penny with that Berkowitz character!

All right, the first thing we want to do is take a look at the chart. We'll assume Cramer is correct and has his facts straight: These CLECs have their act together; they're money machines; they're the hot segment; yada, yada, yada. Big deal, that's what the pundits said about

Boston Chicken

and what are your 10,000 shares worth now? Right, cash 'em in and maybe you can buy dinner for the family. So, fundamentals be damned -- charts rule!!

Oh, sorry, got off track there. Let's look at a

column).

Finally, as long as we're mixing in fundamentals and esoteric elements, there's one other factor to consider, and that's Cramer himself. Let's face it, he's right a lot more than he's wrong. It's like day trading and being on the other side of the trade from

Goldman Sachs

: You may be darn certain you're right and they're wrong, but why choose to walk straight uphill? No, if Cramer is behind it, I might not be with him, but I sure don't want to voluntarily take the other side of the trade.

So, Sparky, all in all, it doesn't look too bad. Mind you, I think there are far easier, more profitable trades out there, but I'm not the one who's all hepped up about CLECs, for crying out loud. I did my due diligence and gave you a feel for the company; defined your risk/reward; added in some contributing factors; and told you to ride with the wind. (That's wind, not windbag!) So now it's payoff time: Let's Whack That Bid for 1,000 shares at the open on April 1! We'll sell half your position at 43 -- where we know it's going to run into resistance -- and let the other half ride. This trade's going to work out, trust me. And if not, well, we'll do what all good traders do when they make a mistake: We'll call this an "investment"!

*****

They say the opposite of love isn't hate. No, it's apathy. So the opposite of good customer service isn't bad customer service. It's apathetic customer service. And that's exactly what I got from my friends at

A.B. Watley

. You'll recall I gave them a pretty good thrashing in last week's

column. And I know darn well they read my stuff. But, I never heard a word from them. Not an apology, not an excuse, not a comeback, not a rebuttal. Nothing. I called them up to cancel my account, expecting at least a short quiz on my reasons. Nothing. Oh well, there are only a few ways for these Internet brokers to differentiate themselves, and customer service is a big one. Guess Watley's decided not to play in that niche.

Gary B. Smith is a freelance sportswriter who trades for his own account from his Connecticut home using technical analysis. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith's column, Technician's Take, appears every Monday. His Q&A column, TSC Technical Forum, appears every Saturday.