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9:00 AM EDT, Wednesday, September 23, 2009: This is what happened yesterday after Cramer hammered the table for Wynn Resorts (and I mentioned it). Not unusual trading pattern -- straight up, then down, then up a little, then down. The day traders are back.

I believe Wynn could go higher. I'm hoping for a little pullback today.

Meantime, Apple and Google continue to rise.

Cramer pounded the table last night for AT&T because of his obsession with "the mobile Internet tsunami." He's right on this one, also.

New industries everywhere. Spied on the weekend's trip to Boston:

Look closely. The lady in the middle is wearing a sash, "Bride to Be." The kids are attending a Bachelorette Party -- a new phenomenon. I offered to do lap dances for free. They politely turned me down.

For $229 (for two), you get a a private hour-long cruise, a live accordion player who sings, a dozen roses, a personal photograph of your tour, nonalcoholic sparkling champagne, a basket or cheese and crackers, fresh strawberries, "rich" chocolates, and, at night, votive candles. Says the brochure for BostonGondolas, "couples, don't forget, a kiss under any bridge brings good luck to all." There are lots of bridges in Boston.

BostonGliders will give you a one hour "adventure" for $60 or $85 for two hours.

Boston Duck Tours. Tickets are around $30. Unless you're part of a group, old or young, or whatever.

Recession? No way. All the rides were booming. The girls had even had to line up to get into a popular local bar.

Afghanistan -- my overwhelming cynical conclusion. Afghanistan is an "industry" in Washington. If it were closed down and our troops withdrawn, hundreds of thousands of military personnel, of consultants, of suppliers would find their jobs threatened, their incomes disappearing and their egos shattered.

I've been reading some papers on the war. It's amazing how every one recommends a different strategy -- yet not one recommends closing it down. I guess that would be the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite yourself.

From 40 years in business, I learned one overwhelming lesson -- when it's over, it's over. Close it down and move on. In business school, we were told to ignore sunk cost -- the money we've already spent. Look at what extra monies going forward will be needed to make the project viable.

If the project would likely never be profitable, then the only conclusion was to close it down instantly. In my business career I did it several times.

Each time, I brought the employees together and explained we weren't making and why we weren't making it. I explained why I was actually doing them a favor -- they could now find a job in a successful enterprise.

Sadly, you can't use this logic in Washington.

P.S. Don't forget to visit my new site,

So what's with the Swensen strategy? From today's New York Times:

University Funds Report Steep Investment Losses

Steep investment losses have caused painful cutbacks at some of the nation’s best-known universities over the most recent fiscal year and have prompted questions about whether their endowments are taking too much risk.

But as the schools, one by one, disclose their numbers, the managers of these endowments are indicating their continued support for a diversified portfolio chock full of alternative investments like hedge funds, private equity and real estate — the very things that have caused so much trouble.

This portfolio strategy is sometimes called the Swensen model, after David F. Swensen, who heads the Yale endowment. On Tuesday, Yale disclosed the details of its year, reporting an investment loss of 24.6 percent, compared with an average drop of 17.2 percent for large funds, according to the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

David F. Swensen, Yale University’s investment chief, had a loss of 24.6 percent, bigger than average for large funds.

The fiscal year for all major university endowments ended on June 30.

Preferring to emphasize their long-term results, the chiefs of many big endowments, including Harvard, Yale and M.I.T., have indicated they are sticking with their models. Notably, Mr. Swensen did not lay out Yale’s asset allocation for the coming year in his statement — something he has done in years past.

Yale pointed out that even after its latest loss, it has produced an average annualized gain of 11.8 percent over the last 10 years. According to Wilshire, the average return during that period was 4.3 percent for endowments with more than $1 billion in assets. “Just how unhappy fiduciaries are with the returns last year depends on whether they are focusing on one-year returns or 10-year returns,” said one endowment head who did not want to be quoted by name speaking about investment strategy.

A number of institutions will be looking for ways to avoid some of last year’s biggest headaches, like not having enough cash on hand to meet capital calls, as required under their contracts with private equity and similar funds. Harvard, which was down 27.3 percent last year, has acknowledged it suffered a cash squeeze and has since raised its portion in cash, among other measures.

“In most cases they will make small changes in the allocation to various categories,” said Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Services. “People are gradualists.”

Along with holding more cash, Mr. Wien says he believes that endowments need to have more funds in emerging markets and in the credit markets as growth slows in the western world.

Making minor adjustments could lead to broader shifts. “I think there are probably more changes going on than they are publicly announcing,” said Dan Jick of High Vista, which manages money for endowments, families and foundations.

“In a couple of years I would guess that endowments will take less risk prospectively and have more assets in investments where they can get at the money when they need it.”

The biggest endowments seem to have stumbled the most in percentage terms last year. Doing better than either Harvard or Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that its fund fell a more modest 17 percent and that its diversification strategy of embracing alternative investments had indeed cushioned its portfolio, a third the size of Harvard’s, against the market swoon.

By contrast, Yale said that diversification had failed to protect its asset values. The biggest drag on its performance was a 34 percent decline in its largest asset class, known as real assets, which include real estate, commodities and timber.

Over all, the Yale fund fell to $16.3 billion at the end of June. That decline included a $5.6 billion loss from investments, $1.2 billion that was applied to the university’s budget and $200 million in new gifts.

Some big schools remain skeptical about the push for alternative investments. The University of Pennsylvania did relatively well in an abysmal year, reporting a drop of 15.7 percent, and did not have a lot invested in private equity, real estate and natural resources.

The school’s endowment chief, Kristin Gilbertson, said that she had been slow to get into private equity and real estate after she took over in 2004 because she worried that the size of private equity funds was too large and their fees too high.

Over a five-year period, Penn had an average annualized return of 3.5 percent. That compares with 8.7 percent at Yale.

Still, Ms. Gilbertson says she is in a better position for growth now, partly because the fund has avoided some of the problems that will continue as a result of private equity deals struck from 2005 through 2007.

Truly silly. But addictive. Send this link to your friends who spend their "lives" in front of a computer screen. Click here.

Flight Attendant lore
A mother and her 5-year-old son were flying Southwest Airlines.. The son asked his mother and asked, 'If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don't big planes have baby planes?"

The mother, who couldn't think of an answer, told her son to ask the flight attendant.

So the little guy walks up to the galley and asks the flight attendant, 'If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don't big planes have baby planes?"

The flight attendant responded, "Did your mother tell you to ask me that?"

The boy said, "Yes, she did...."

"Well, then, please tell your mother that there are no baby planes because Southwest always pulls out on time. Have her explain that to you."

Why are there no dead penguins on the Antarctic ice? Where do they go?

Wonder no more!!!

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and as they roll the dead penguin into the ice hole, they sing:

"Freeze a jolly good fellow."

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, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.