Giving It the Old College Try

Gary wants feedback on your alma mater. Also, charts of Cisco, CMGI, Microsoft and more.
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Uh oh.

Diana

, my youngest, is already talking about which college she'd like to go to. She's only 10!

Her early picks:

Stanford

(the brother of

TSC

contributor

Chris Edmonds

is an assistant swim coach there, and Chris was kind enough to bring by a package of swim goodies signed by both the illustrious Stanford Women's team and a few famous alum like Jenny Thompson. That pretty much did the trick.) and

Duke

(patronizing me, no doubt).

Katherine

, on the other hand, is focused solely on

MIT

. She'll end up the rich one, no doubt.

Personally, I'd like them within hailing distance.

Johns Hopkins

or

Georgetown

both sound about right.

But it's a big world out there, and I'm already gathering data. So let me know where you went to school, and in five words or less, why you'd recommend it (or, I guess, avoid it!).

As always, the registrar's office is open 24/7, so send all questions and tuition payments to

technicalforum@thestreet.com, and please include your full name.

First up are some readers who chimed in with their success on

Alteon WebSystems

(ATON)

. Last week, you may recall, I was looking for any

Zen masters who bought and held this monster for the first two days of its rocket-ship move.

Greetings from Maryland's eastern shore! I assume you are in the Maryland suburbs in the DC area. (I got tired of the traffic and moved over to the shore about five years ago.) Yes, I did hit it right on Alteon. I am new to investing online and have been trying to research IPOs. I loved Alteon and watched it open at 45. I bought only 50 shares at 49 and watched the stock zoom to 75 the first day, then held through the second day and sold 40 shares at 108 (after a high of 122). I then sold the other 10 shares the next day at 93. I guess it was beginner's luck! (I'm finding out, though, I am not a beginner because this game is exactly like handicapping horses, which I did for seven years while paying my way through college.) Just like Cramer says, it's like handicapping. -- Greg Nizza

Well, yes, I did in fact buy some Alteon at the open (at 45 1/2) and got so shaken by the action on Sept. 28 that I sold half the position at 95 1/2, after seeing it go up to the 120 area and then start to head south! Having grown up in the trading world of the 1970s and put in a few years as a retail broker from '77 to '79, I agree: This market is just too weird for words. -- Alan Levin

Next, another excellent letter from someone who, unlike me, wasn't in high school in the '70s.

The best thing I can say about the 1973-1974 market is that it's over. No matter what you bought, there was a new surprise on the downside, or just drifting lower. Some stocks trading at 3 times earnings looked good, until they went to 2 times earnings. What could you believe in? Nixon was in the headlines. The country was in a funk. Oil prices and gas lines. About the only thing you could do was borrow money and buy real estate or gold. They went up. There were such absurdly low valuations in the market that people like the Hunt brothers would raid a company because its stock sold for less than its cash in the bank. Great Western United declared a $20 special dividend to foil one such raid, lifting its price to $26 from the single digits. -- Frank Tims

Take Me to the Next Level

I'm learning to be a daytrader -- buy the stock at the dip and sell it at rallies during the day. I have access to Level II through e-Signal, but I don't know how to use it to help my trading. I would appreciate it very much if you could give me some advice. -- Anh Castro

Anh, this is a good opportunity to plug one of my favorite sites,

www.elitetrader.com. A wealth of information on both Level II and trading in general. Tell 'em Gar sent you! (And don't worry -- I'm not getting anything from it.)

Republic Will Take Some Cleaning Up

I have everything invested in a stock called Republic Services (RSG) - Get Report. It is a trash company that is being managed by Wayne Huzienga. Please, please run the TA for me. I am looking at the chart and am confused. I need it to bounce back to 15 a share to break even. Please let me know the prospects of the stock running up from 10 1/2 to 15. -- David Wasserman

David,

Before I get to Republic Services, please a previous

column of mine. Remember, there is no law that says you have to keep your money in Republic Services hoping for a 50% gain. What we all forget when we're in this situation is that we can take our remaining equity out and put it somewhere else that has much better odds of appreciating.

Sticking by Cisco

Thanks for your charting strategies, money management, humor and family spirit! It is a joy. I have two stocks that worry me and would appreciate your take on either. I bought Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report, which was on Helene Meisler's positive list and which Cramer was buying also (at the time) at 101. Since then, it has copied Gillette's (G) - Get Report and Avon's (AVP) - Get Report nosedives. Is there hope? My second gray-hair-turner is Cisco (CSCO) - Get Report, which I sold around 73 to re-enter lower. But it worries me that it falls under its trend line. Are you still bullish? Dell (DELL) - Get Report just flopped out, so I am concerned this could be the next bear meat. Thanks. -- D A Rosen

Take Your Time With T

The chart for AT&T (T) - Get Report looks pretty depressing. But I think Mike Armstrong is a talented and tough executive and expect he'll find a way to resolve the issues with Excite@Home (ATHM) - Get Report and find a way to serve America Online (AOL) . Also, it looks to me like the price is moving away from the bottom of the downward channel. Is it wishful thinking to anticipate an upside breakout with my longish eyes? -- David Greenaway P.S.: I see by your email that you are part of the AT&T Net family now since it absorbed IBM.net. Any change in the service, either good or bad?

David,

I'm glad you brought up the email question. For all those who haven't heard, my IBM.net address has gone away. You can now find me at

gbsmith@attglobal.net. Service is the same, but hopefully the price will be lower in a few months.

And speaking of

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

, here's what happens when a Big Blue alum takes over Ma Bell's reins.

Above the Line, Should Be Fine

Please give me your analysis of SuperGen (SUPG) from a technical standpoint. -- Russell Dobie

CMGI Coaster

Been looking for an Internet investment and would like your take on CMGI (CMGI) . Thanks in advance. -- R. Chakrin

Bananas for Ciena

Just wondering if Ciena (CIEN) - Get Report is still a black sheep or a gorilla candidate. -- Bob Houck

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

We think Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report is going through a kind of a pennant, with a false breakout in September, which is going to close around 90. And then? Which direction do you think it will take? We think it will follow the long-term uptrend, but maybe we're too optimistic! We're long it at 90, stop loss at 85. -- Davide and Roberta Baroni

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@attglobal.net.