Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM ET, Monday, December 7, 2009: When
markets spike, they always turn and -- lately -- violently. The gold market has
spiked. Last week, after the dollar rose, gold dropped nearly 5%. The perception
is that after Friday's jobs report, things are now wonderful in the rose garden,
i.e. the economy.
the economy is now wonderful, "recession" trades like short the dollar
and buy gold are now over. The recession is not over. The jobs report was manipulated
(fiddled?) by Washington to conform to their "story" that the economy
is now much better. Not true. But perception is the reality in a world where
most investors don't study economic reports.
Which is why I'm
watching this carefully. Very carefully. Frankly, I'd really like a sharp pullback.
Then I'd pile into a bunch of high-yield stocks and index funds.
For more on dollar
rises, gold falls and fed rate hikes, go to Seeking
big lessons from Dubai:
+ Ridiculous booms
-- though amusing to watch -- turn on a dime.
+ Third world
countries are still third world countries. They lack the rule of law.
+ When the rubber
hits the road, they prefer their own and they screw the foreigners, i.e. you
+ Contracts with
governments aren't worth the paper they're written on -- if the country itself
is in a mess, or changes its mind about supporting its babies.
+ Government officials
-- like the dictator ruler of Dubai -- can act like the hype merchants, just
like any other salesman.
out real estate "bargains:" The banks
have many loans in default. The idea is: Buy cheap houses. Rent them out. Make
nice returns. Not so easy. To handle the defaults, banks have established rigid
rules their employees follow. Many banks foreclose, don't negotiate, kick the
people out, turn off the services -- like electricity and water -- and totally
neglect the house. Without love and especially in cold weather, a house deteriorates
very fast. Pipes burst. The place floods. Cracks appear. The banks don't pay
the local taxes or past utility bills. The
house becomes a disaster. Why banks act against their self-interest is beyond
my brain. The lesson is Caveat Emptor.
batteries and printer toner. I am totally cheap. But buying non-branded
cheap-junk batteries and toner have been BAD decisions. From now on, I only
buy brand-name stuff.
I bought a cheap
battery for my laptop. It lasted a week. I bought cheap batteries for our Panasonic
phones. They lasted two weeks.
I do buy cheap
light bulbs -- from Bulbs.com. I
don't have any feeling that the pricey ones last longer than the cheap. I suspect
they blow regularly just to spite me.
be tempted by the new Google / Verizon Droid: Verizon hoped it would
be an "iPhone killer." It's not. Five problems:
1. The keyboard
sucks. It's flat. It doesn't have real buttons (like a BlackBerry). It's incredibly
difficult to type on.
2. One big iPhone
feature: You can listen to your voice mail messages in whatever order you want.
Not with Droid. You're back to dialing Verizon's voice mail (as you do with
any cellphone) and listening to your messages chronologically. You never know
who called. And you can't listen to the most important one first -- the one
from your boss or your biggest client.
3. It doesn't
have anywhere near the number and sophistication of applications you can download
for the iPhone -- most for free, or for a couple of bucks.
4. It doesn't
have the clever finger movements of the iPhone. Pull your finger and thumb apart
on the iPhone and the image expands. Not so with the Droid.
5. The Droid is
clunky, chunky and cumbersome.
The only thing
the Droid has going for it is Verizon's network, which is much better than AT&Ts.
Most of my friends say .I wouldn't be happy with AT&T's service. But everyone
who has an iPhone seems to love the phone and tolerate AT&T.
he went Chapter 11 and he lost my entire investment, the chairman
and primary stockholder felt guilty and sent me a Christmas present from Harry
It consisted of
of chocolate, a bag of nuts, two apples, five pears, and lots of packaging.
I don't make this stuff up. I took the photo. It's real.
decorations. Inspirations for your house.
But my favorite
is this one.
Writes the Christmas
artist, "Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas
decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after two days. I had
more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Two things made me take
First, the cops
advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked themselves
when they drove by.
Second, a 55 year-old
lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder, almost killed herself putting it against my
house and didn't realize he was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not
happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My
yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people
literally drove up my yard."
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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