Okay, here's my take: This

Merrill Lynch


announcement of both online and flat-fee trading is a killer. Why? Because my broker buds at the competition all say their firms are now scrambling. My only question: Why hasn't anyone sent me details on this flat-fee, trade-your-guts-out arrangement?? C'mon, MER, get your PR act together. Show me you know what this Internet stuff is all about! (First official MER correspondence gets noted in next week's column.)

P.S. If I don't hear directly from Komansky, I will be APPALLED!

There, now we'll see if GBS has any clout. Which, of course, I don't. I mean, I don't even get to pick which CDs get played when I'm driving the family around.

But, enough about that, let's review this column's rules and regulations. They are as follows:

You send in your question to

technicalforum@thestreet.com along with your full name.

I read every one sent in, then use a scientific algorithm to determine the ones I answer.

This algorithm is top secret, of course, but let's face it, it never hurts to mention just how wonderful Gary B. Smith is as a human being!

Leery of Lason

I'm probably your newest newbie, but I enjoy learning this TA stuff. I've heard good things about Lasonundefined but the chart confuses my unsophisticated eye. What is your take? -- Jim Seeger

Chart Choices

I notice you bounce from candlesticks to bar charts. Why? And have you ever used Point & Fig? -- Kevin Courtney

TheStreet Recommends


I get this question a lot, and I suppose many readers think there's some hidden meaning in the particular chart style I use for each stock. (If I like 'em, they get candlesticks. Hate 'em, then bar charts.)

Sorry to disappoint, but my choice of chart style depends on only one thing: how the chart will look when it's in the column. If I'm showing a short period of time, I use a candlestick chart, because that's what I'm most comfortable with. If I need to show more than a few months, however, candlestick charts take up too much room and make the final picture look messy. It's then that I go to the leaner bar charts.

As for point-and-figure, I've never gone that route. Still trying to figure out those mystical candlesticks!

Starting Small in SNDK

I have a small position in Sandisk (SNDK) and would like to add to it. Do you see a good entry point? -- Bob Tarte


Your question reminded me of an old joke: How do you make a small fortune in the market? Start with a large fortune. I know, way lame, and don't worry, that's not a hint with SNDK.

Lesson on Managing EDMC

On the recent nasty trend on Education Management (EDMC) is there a bottom? Trading is thin, but it picked up on the recent low. Is there any sign of support or is 15 just wishful thinking? -- Stan Kobylarz

EDS Nears Critical Point

How about commenting on Electronic Data Systems (EDS) ? Since the new CEO came in at the start of the year, the stock has been steadily climbing. I bought some on May 25 at 59 on news of a couple of upgrades along with a price target of 70. Since then, the stock has fallen a bit on declining volume. Looks like a normal dip within the trading range. What's the long-term prognosis look like? -- John Horal

Freudian Slip

I appreciate your response in your recent column, but my question related to the chart of Unifi (UFI) - Get Unifi, Inc. Report, not United Natural Foods (UNFI) - Get United Natural Foods, Inc. Report. Unifi is a major textile company. Much more interesting chart. Recent climb is interesting but on low volume. This company has long been a low-volume institutional favorite but has had a very quick climb from 10 1/2 to 16 1/2. -- Jim McGuire


I'll bet you're glad I'm not your broker!

It's Not Rocket Science

Help! A friend of mine wants to take her considerable profits from sale of a home and put them in hot Internet stocks so she can get rich like everyone else. She has been told by a friend (a real rocket scientist with NASA and a trader) that CMGI (CMGI) is a hot stock. I advised caution due to high risk, but she is adamant and ready to pull the trigger. She is too inexperienced to know that fear is the flip side of greed. What do you think of CMGI? -- D.S. Greenaway

The News on NWS

First let me say thank you for helping us little guys out. I gotta tell you that when I first started investing during high school many moons ago (I'm 23 now, and no, not in high school still), I was an adamant fundamentalist, going so far as to make fun of my friend who was a chartist. Anyhow, I've now become enlightened and wish to say thanks. While I've still got your attention, could you figure out News Corp. (NWS) - Get News Corporation Class B Report for me? Has it reached some kind of position or is it forming some dangerous triangle that might be heading downwards? -- J. Buffet

Bank on It

Would you mind charting Net.Bank (NTBK) ? -- Justin DeVore

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