Reviewing the Fab Four of '98

A tour of AOL, AMZN, IBM and SLB.
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I'm feeling reflective lately. And, I'm really not a reflective kind of guy. No, I'm much more a here-and-now kind of guy. I don't know if that's good or bad -- I'm certainly not the person Duke calls to organize the class reunions -- but I am what I am.

Except for today. You know, it's a new year and all that, so I guess this is my bow to looking back. And in looking back, four stocks stick out as representing 1998. And because I think they'll also be very important in 1999, I decided to give them the full and complete Gary B. Smith Technical Tour.

Now, I culled my Fab Four from a few areas. The first area was stocks that were most talked about on the chat threads. The second was stocks that had the biggest impact on either the Dow, the S&P 500, or both. And the third was stocks that seemed to capture the essence of the past year.

Therefore this list should be no surprise: the four stocks I'll talk about today are

AOL, AMZN, IBM

and

SLB

. Why these four specifically? Let me count the ways:

AOL and AMZN mean the Internet to me. You also could make an argument for

YHOO

, but with these two, I think we pretty much have it. I was also going to include stuff like

MZON, UBID

, and

EBAY

, but I think the two I have also do a decent job of representing the nuttiness factor. In addition, with AOL's inclusion in the S&P, it'll have a significant impact on one of the most visible averages.

IBM is included because when I last looked it pretty much carried the Dow this year. It's "old technology" I guess, but it pretty much has its hand in everything from PCs, to the Internet, to mainframes. You could include

DELL, CPQ, COMS

, and

CSCO

on my list, but with IBM, you do a nice job of one-stop shopping.

Finally, the darlings of '97 were the goats of '98, and those were the oil drillers. Depending on what happens with the Internet stuff in '99, we might have to revisit the hand-wringing, throat slashing, head-pounding days many folks experienced this year with stocks like SLB. There were many candidates to choose from, of course, so I just defaulted to one of the high-profile disasters.

With all these stocks, though, I won't just look back; I'll try to peek into the future and let you know what I see for the next few months. As I've said many times, this is really no better than an educated guess, but it's at least a small stake in the ground.

Now I'll take you through each chart in full, glorious detail. You'll see exactly what I look at, and how I break a chart apart. In addition, my comments on each stock will be included right on the chart, so you can print them and hang them in your den! (Or, more likely, line your bird cage with them.)

The GBS Technical Tour

AOL Chart No. 1

AOL Chart No. 2

Amazon Chart No. 1

Amazon Chart No. 2

IBM Chart No. 1

IBM Chart No. 2

Schlumberger Chart No. 1

Schlumberger Chart No. 2

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer 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 also writes Technical Forum each Saturday and Sunday, and Charted Territory, which appears every Wednesday.