Technology Investor

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
Tuesday, November 24, 2009: Silly, isn't it. Apple, Google, GLD, EWA (Australia), EWZ (Brazil), and FSAGX (gold miners) continue to do well. Meanwhile, I'm researching other ideas, with little success (or enthusiasm) so far.

I visited the doctor yesterday -- getting ready for my combined endoscopy / colonoscopy in December. I don't believe he can meet himself in the middle. But we'll find out.

The gotcha in the tax business. Let's say that in 2009 your stocks paid you $100,000 in dividends, but lost you $100,000 when you sold the stocks. You'd break-even. Right?


You can't contra one against the other. They're different. One is dividend income. The other is a capital loss. Though you may think of them your big investment bundle, the tax man has different mind.

The tax man will tax you on the dividends, irrespective of all your capital losses. . He'll let you contra your capital loss against a $100,000 capital gain. If you don't have any capital gains, you can reduce your dividend income by $3,000 and carry the rest of your capital losses forward, to be deducted against future capital gains, or $3,000 a year for the rest of your life.

You'd better use them all up before you die, because capital losses die with you.

In 2008, my favorite hedgie invested heavily in dividend paying stocks -- Jim Cramer was pushing them also. But the dividend paying stocks, like most others, fell. Hence I am in the uncomfortable position of paying taxes in a losing year.

Health reform. Imagine you've just taken over a working, somewhat successful business. Would you rush in and change every aspect of it overnight? Or would you move slowly, addressing those things in most immediate need of repair?

When you're starting a new business, the key is to limit your risks. Focus on those few things you can make a difference.

This philosophy of mine is what bugs me about health reform. I do believe more people should be insured. But the Administration is trying to do too much, too quickly. And I worry that the whole thing will be botched beyond belief. For me, this photo and caption from The Economist says it all:

A modest proposal.

60 Minutes, the CBS show, did a piece last Sunday on "The Cost of Dying." In it, they pointed out that Medicaid spent $50 billion during the last two months of people's lives. Much of the expenditure was wasted. There are no rules. The spending is skyrocketing. Medicaid just pays and pays -- mostly, asking no questions. You can watch the disturbing 60 Minutes piece.

Be wary where you click. Your children put you on Facebook. They like it. But it's not warm, cuddly and benign. Someone scammed my Facebook account and tried to get money out of my friends because I was "stranded in London." I read this morning:

On Monday, the anti-virus firm AVG showcased a worm that has spread via users' Facebook walls. The worm is an ad with an image of a bikini-clad woman. "Wanna C Somthin' HOT!??" the worm asks users. "Click Da' Button, Baby!"

When you click the ad, the worms get posted to your wall.

According to AVG, the worm uses a tactic called "cross-site request forgery" to initiate a chain of actions on a logged-in user's behalf. Since the user is already logged into Facebook, the bug does not need to worry about authentication and passwords. If more users click the ad, its growth rate will likely increase geometrically. Evron, who first alerted Facebook to the bug, admits to clicking it himself before finding out its effects.

From the New Yorker:

Thanksgiving Travel Tips, posted on the New Yorker's site..

+ Don’t bring a second turkey as a gift for your hosts. Instead, bring extra guests.

+ Your flight is going to be late. If I’m right, then you were prepared. If I’m wrong, I hope you didn’t listen to me, because you will miss your flight.

+ Yams and sweet potatoes are the same thing. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

+ Don’t follow the GPS, follow your heart.

+ Do not waste space packing your workout shorts or running shoes. The only clothes you need are eating clothes, crying clothes, and escape clothes.

+ A healthy and carbon-efficient mode of transportation is riding your bike from your house to the back of your house where you can hide until the holidays blow over.

+ Between flying or the train, pick the train: they don’t take your guns away.

+ The conductors on your Amtrak train are actually lost airline pilots.

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 . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.