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Feb. 2, 2000

Just because the


will make its rate announcement today and everyone out there has a view about what it will do, I've decided to restrain myself and be one of the few who won't make a comment on the Fed and the upcoming interest-rate decision.

Join the discussion on


Message Boards.

One reason I've decided to do this is that I've noticed something interesting beginning to develop in a couple of charts. Last Wednesday, I

highlighted the


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

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chart. The stock was trading around 101. I said I thought it had come down to its breakout point and would likely hold in that area. Of course, the stock promptly fell another 5 or 6 bucks just to make me look bad. But when it rallied yesterday, I noticed that it had in fact bounced from a general area, which is quite important because so many stocks had a difficult January and are doing their best to find support.

With that in mind, I noticed the


(AA) - Get Alcoa Corporation Report

chart was not all that different from Microsoft when I posted it after yesterday's close. Now before you roll your eyes and say something about how Alcoa isn't a tech stock, I'm going to remind you that it was the best-performing


stock last year, and that means it performed better than the Dow's own technology stocks.

After trading near 88 in early January, Alcoa reported better-than-expected earnings and cost-cuttings. It then proceeded to slide almost 20. (Investors have a funny way of saying thank you, eh?) Anyway, like Microsoft, Alcoa has come back to the top of its base, and despite the decline in the market last week, it has been marking time in the low 70s. Sure, the "real" support level is closer to the upper 60s, but it seems to me we're now in the general support area from which Alcoa may now rally.

Overbought/Oversold Oscillator

Helene Meisler, based in Singapore, writes a technical analysis column on the U.S. equity markets on Tuesdays and Fridays, and updates her charts daily on Meisler trained at several Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and Cowen, and has worked with the equity trading department at Cargill. At time of publication, she was long Microsoft, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. She appreciates your feedback at