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Over the years, one question I get asked regularly is how I define

overbought

(and similarly,

oversold

).

There are many oscillators, of course, that can measure such things -- stochastics, MACD, etc. -- but for better or worse, my analysis is based on gut feel.

However, that gut feel does encompass a few key elements.

    The stock has been up for a few days in a row, and/or

    The move looks vertical in nature, and/or

    The percentage gain of the recent move looks unsustainable.

    Let's use

    IBM

    (IBM) - Get Report

    as a recent example.

    You can see by the chart below that all three elements are in play. The stock rose straight up for the past week, and while it certainly could continue rising, the pattern looks a little "stretched." Or, in column speak, IBM is overbought.

    Today, the

    Dow Jones Industrial Average

    ,

    Transaction Systems Architects

    ( TSAI),

    Oregon Steel Mills

    ( OS),

    Dobson Communications

    (DCEL)

    ,

    Sirius Satellite Radio

    (SIRI) - Get Report

    and

    Semiconductor HOLDRs

    (SMH) - Get Report

    .

    Charts produced by TC2000, which is a registered trademark of

    Worden Brothers Inc.

    And that is the final word from the Cinema Royale, where I know why ticket sales are lagging: I haven't been going to the movies! Let's see, I've wanted to go to

    Star Wars

    ,

    Cinderella Man

    ,

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    ,

    War of the Worlds

    and

    Fantastic Four

    . Missed 'em all. But pay-per-view should be good in the next few months.

    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 writes a daily technical analysis column for RealMoney.com and also produces a daily premium product for TheStreet.com called The Chartman's Top Stocks --

    click here for a free two-week trial. While Gary cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback;

    click here

    to send him an email.