Introducing Gary's Restaurant Seating Indicator

The indicator you've all been waiting for, which really can tell you whether interest rates are headed up -- or down.
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OK, here's my official prognostication: We're going to get another rate hike. You know why? Because of my always-reliable

Restaurant Seating Indicator

.

That's right, whenever I go through a period of not being able to get a seat at a restaurant, that means everyone is just too flush with cash, and the economy is going into overdrive.

Exhibit #1

: The

Palm Restaurant

in Tyson's Corner, Va. Met a friend for lunch there the other day, and the place was mobbed. You couldn't squeeze in, with all the black

Amex

(AXP) - Get Report

Centurion cards floating around. And we're not exactly talking cheap diner fare here. Furthermore, this was on a Tuesday, midday, not prime time Saturday night!

Technical Analysis: Join the discussion on

TSC message boards.

Exhibit #2

: Back relatively early from a swim meet this past weekend, we stopped into our nearest

Dave & Buster's

(DAB)

. Sunday night, about 7 p.m., and we had a 45-minute wait for a table! And if you've ever been in a D&B, you know it can seat about 137,000 people. Yet we still had to cool our heels in that video arcade area. Ridiculous. (Sidebar: How can this chain not be doing well? I dropped $20 just keeping my kids occupied with video games and the like. I'll confess, though, I did use that neat skiing simulator a few times...)

So, you heard it here first. The economy is overheating, and the

Fed

will act. I'm betting my Amex Black card on it!

Anyway, enough blubbering, let's get to some charts. Today, I wanted to take a look at some old war horses. No, not stuff like

USX-U.S. Steel Group

(X) - Get Report

or

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

, or even

GE

(GE) - Get Report

. Those are

really

old war horses.

No, I'm talking about stocks like

AOL

(AOL)

,

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

Lucent

(LU)

! You remember, those, right? Yeah, they used to be the "latest thing." And now, well, they're like

Carlos Santana

: Still a lot of talent there, but seemingly back for only cameo appearances.

First up is

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

, requested by reader,

Harriet Gleason

.

Kevin Dunseath

wanted to know about Lucent, so here we go.

Devoted reader

Steve Rowan

queried me about Amazon. Isn't

Jeff Bezos

about due for another "big announcement?"

Many requests for AOL, which even after all these years is

still

the most requested stock I get.

And finally, reader

John Keeney

wanted an update on

Compaq

(CPQ)

.

And that, folks, puts the finishing touches on yet another week. By the way, if you can find a Color Game Boy anywhere in stock on

any

Web site, please let me know!

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.