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And the answer is ... Julia Lichtblau. Oh, the question? Who's the fastest 9-year-old breaststroker in the country? Like a good swimming dad, I watched Ms. Lichtblau at a recent meet and can sum up her performance in three words: demolished the field. Even worse, it's not like she's going to turn 10 soon, and "age up" as they say in the swimming world. No, her birthday is right near Diana's. Drat!

In any event, the real point of last week's contest was to show -- no, to prove -- you can find just about


on the Internet IF YOU TRY (hint, hint, to readers who email me with questions that would take seconds on



to research).

And finally, congrats to our T-shirt winners, some of whom signed on as early as 12:30 a.m. to read the Sunday column:

Ed Hubbard


Mike Colgin


Alex Carr


James Royal


Gene Chiaramonte

. And a small sidebar: Mr. Royal, who's been reading me since issue No. 1, I believe, tacked along this note:

I know you are as proud of your ladies as I am mine. They will benefit from the increased competition ... as long as Daddy DOESN'T PRESSURE THEM! My wife accuses me of making my oldest daughter too competitive. What does that mean? I should teach her how not to win.? So what if she leaves the other kids crying? Winning is the object of the game! OK, OK. I am working on my problem!

As am I, James. As am I!

Enough fooling around, let's get down business. Remember, the questions you see below are real questions, from real people. And each of these people submitted their questions to with -- most importantly -- their full name. Of course, they were expecting a succinct, educated answer, but alas, got my babbling instead. Oh well, we're still working out the kinks here at Answer Central!

Earnings for INTU are Feb. 25 and tax season makes this interesting. Chart was looking great, now it looks tired. What do you think, Gary? Dan Fisher P.S. I like your work

Thanks, Dan. I think


(INTU) - Get Free Report

is acting normally, but we should know soon. (I know: DUH!) Take a look at the attached chart.

Gary, There is a trend line on BBY that goes back two years. The stock recently broke above it. Would you buy it here and put a stop just under that line at this point (or at any point for that matter) in the market? Thanks, Richard Nelson

Hey, Gary, ISTN has enjoyed a nice upward trend since October. It seems to me, that it is currently in the midst of some congestion, with a drop in volume. I think ISTN is poised for some more upward action. What's your take, Gary? Pasquale Castaldo

Hi, Gary, Here's one for you to look at: JAKK. I have been long this stock since about 8. Looks like it's been consolidating for another move upwards. What do you think? Thanks and I enjoy your writings. Judy Daft

Dear Mr. Smith, 1. Please tell me if you ever adjust stock charts before conducting your analysis. I mean, do you ever adjust them as one might adjust price levels for inflation? For example, your Feb. 14 column analyzes IBM, MO and NOKA, among others. Would your analysis change if you adjusted them for general market activity? 2. I happened to see Mr. Cramer and John Bollinger on Ron Insana's show on


Feb. 15, 1998. One caller asked Mr. Bollinger what moving average one should use in TA. He essentially said, "It depends." Considering your analysis shown in the IBM chart mentioned above, why not use a 60-day, 30-day or 117-day average? Would these change your analysis? Best wishes, Carl Di Giorgio

Carl, on your first question, yes, my analysis would change if I adjusted for market activity. However, attempting to make such an adjustment would be mind-boggling and open up a plethora of questions: How do I gauge market activity? What adjustments would I make? Which stocks do I adjust? The thought of doing that is therefore at distinct odds with my KISS philosophy. Or in other words: YUCK!

On the subject of moving averages, you could use any average you want, and there's the flaw: Depending on what average you use, you could get any chart to look good ... or bad. I take the easy way out and use no averages save the 50-day MA. And the only reason I have that on my charts, is that it seems to be the common default for most traders. Even so, it rarely influences my trading decisions.

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith also writes Technician's Take each Monday and Charted Territory, which appears every Wednesday.