What Nokia, Nortel and Talk.com Have in Common

Are they the leading edge -- or the bleeding edge -- of the telecom revolution? Read on.
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Well, I'm not sure I could be more nervous today. That's right, today is day two of the Junior Olympics, and it's the biggest swim meet either of my daughters has ever been in.

Now it's different for both girls. Katherine swam nicely to get

into

the meet. So, while everyone wants her to do well, the common consensus is that we're thrilled she's swimming.

Diana, on the other hand, is in a different situation. She's swimming seven individual events over the three days, and is a reasonable favorite to score very high in at least five of them.

So, of course, the expectations she has, as well as those of the coaches (it's high prestige for a team to win this meet, and the coaches obviously want every swimmer who has a chance to place, to swim his or her best), are pretty high.

And, if all that isn't enough, this will be her first crack at swimming on the "A" relay team. This team has a reasonable shot at setting both a meet record and nabbing a National Top 16 time. And if you know anything about swimming, you know that the pivotal spot in that relay team is the one who swims the breaststroke. In this case, Diana.

Technical Analysis: Join the discussion on

TSC message boards.

So, I'm worried. Yes, I'm worried she won't swim well. But I also go through the same things many parents go through: "If she doesn't swim well, will she be able to handle it?" "Have I put too much pressure on her?" "Am I living vicariously through her accomplishments?"

That's right, I've thought about everything from every possible angle because in the end, I'd just like both my girls to be happy.

So at this point, I guess the best thing I can do to help is to do nothing except cheer. Just a pat on the behind, a "go get 'em" and a hug no matter how they finish. You know, they'll probably be able to handle it no matter what happens. I just hope I can!

On the chart front, well, I know I can handle those. You know why? Because I've never been wrong! Oh, early on occasion. Yeah, and late on others. But, nope, I just checked: a 100% accuracy rating since 1/1/99. Shoot, I even amaze myself sometimes!

Care to try me out? Send any and all to

technicalforum@thestreet.com.

Gary,
I wanted to go long Nokia (NOK) - Get Report, but my broker advised me that all the recent gaps in the Nokia chart indicated weak support. We decided to buy just a little and wait on a possible pull-back, closer to the long-term trend line, before I buy more. What does "Chartman -- The Ax of TA" think about these gaps?
Jeff Dean Gary,
How about divining Nortel Networks (NT) for your neighbors from the frozen tundra north of the border, eh?
Thanks,
Bruce Macdonald Gary;
Could you chart/provide insight on TALK.com (TALK) .
Thanks in advance,
Brad Sheridan Gary,
Trading volumes have gone through the roof. As a result, Knight/Trimark (NITE) finally seems to be breaking out to the upside. It appears to me that it is forming a perfect cup and handle. Do you agree?
Thanks,
Mike Yaffe Gary,
Will you please take a look at the chart for Formula Systems (FORTY) - Get Report. It's a little Israeli company -- good for the Sabbath day. A cross between Safeguard Scientific (SFE) - Get Report and CMGI (CMGI) .
The best to you and the little swimmers,
Sam Ginsberg Gary,
Congratulations on getting your Lasik procedure! (I'm still long VISX (VISX) despite getting a 40% haircut last week.) You look great without the glasses. I was curious, do you ever just buy and hold a stock (i.e. in a college or retirement fund) or do you just trade everything?
Amy Feller

Amy, this is a good question to conclude with. The fact is, I have

no

buy-and-hold stocks. My reasoning is this: I estimate I can make roughly 60% to 100% return, net of commissions, each year. OK, let's call that 45% after taxes.

Now, could I make 45% each year with a buy-and-hold investment? Sure, if I had the right investment! In fact, if I had the right stocks, I could make a lot more. (However, this isn't quite an apples-to-apples comparison, because at some point, I'd at least have to pay capital gains on the buy-and-hold stuff. But, for now, I'll look at the worst case.)

Ah, but there's the catch. If I had the foresight to pick

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

or

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

years ago, I'd have done that. But that's not my game. One, I can barely forecast out a day a few weeks in advance, never mind a few years. But, two, my personality just isn't quite suited for buy and hold. When Microsoft took a dip this past summer, I'm sure I'd have been tempted to bolt!

The trick, of course, is that I'm confident in my trading ability. You really do have to have a fairly high return to beat the tax man. But, I think I can keep it up, and it's nice knowing that if the market starts to plummet I can both make money and not have to worry about the kids' college education!

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.