Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM ET, Thursday, December 10, 2009: Got
a bunch of cleanup things to do this morning. Quick hits:
Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation's direction
over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession
to recovery. Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when
President Barack Obama took office in January, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
Doctors love Medicare. They can bill virtually anything. Since I went on Medicare
all my regular "procedures" have skyrocketed in price. I checked one
gigantic bill last night -- one that had been paid by Medicare --- and emailed
the doctor "What gives?" He replied, "Oops, billing error."
Barnes and Nobles' Nook eReader got panned in today's Wall Street
Journal and New York Times. Don't buy it. My recommendation remains: Get free
software BN Reader and see if you enjoy reading a book on screen. Then, if you
must, buy the Kindle. But, frankly, I'd wait. Next year's eReader hardware will
be much more advanced. You can still read a book on paper. God forbid. Paper.
I'm seeing new opportunities in real estate. A luxury home buyer with temporary
lousy credit wants to borrow 18% of the home's price, and will pay 9% for the
privilege and give away a First Trust Deed (West coast equivalent of first mortgage).
He'll pay off the loan when his credit improves in a year. Another man will
do a sale and leaseback on his present apartment which he wants to stay in for
another couple of years. Divorce and all that. The apartment is large, but needs
work. You could negotiate your way to better numbers. But you'd better be in
the business of rehabbing apartments, because if you pay retail, the numbers
suck. And then there's my friend who's closing on a deal yielding 12.5% without
leverage. To find fantastic real estate opportunities is a full-time job.
+ This Is The
Chart Warren Buffett Keeps Under His Pillow. Says Clusterstock,
Managers Index (PMI) is an economic indicator for the U.S. manufacturing sector,
in blue below. It tends to be a leading indicator for future railroad shipments.
This relationship makes sense since product orders generally lead to transportation
demand via railroad and trucks.
Due to positive
signs from manufacturing, the PMI has spiked hard recently. Thus it's a fair
bet that rail carloads, in red below, should eventually spike as well. We
might not be back to the good old days, but the situation is likely to be
better than where we've just been.
If this turns
out true, it would be good news for the U.S. economy and U.S. manufacturing.
It'd also make Warren Buffett look pretty smart, since he made his largest
investment ever in the railroad Burlington Northern (BNI) not too long ago.
+ Surprise, surprise.
eBay sellers are often more expensive than Amazon. I prefer Abt
for electronics. They're as cheap as anyone else. But typically they don't
charge shipping or local tax.
+ What bugs us
most of us are hidden fees and not being able to speak to a human being when
we call customer service, according to a new survey by Consumer Reports.
+ Dumbest Christmas
present. A DVD of a fire, replete with crackling sounds. Absolutely no warmth,
and no loss of warmth up the chimney.
Only $8.99 at
Such a bargain.
+ At Least 9 Women
Linked to Tiger Woods in Alleged Affairs, says abc
News Entertainment. One of them is a pancake waitress. Our tennis club
has a pool on the final number. The most popular bet: Around 30.
This column is about my personal search
for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have
to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter
and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available
for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second,
the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the
Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their
ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email
address is .
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