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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM EDT, Friday, September 25, 2009: Housing hosed the stockmarket yesterday.

Clusterstock commented "What housing comeback? After several months of an upward-sloping curve, the volume of existing home sales dropped more than expected in August."

Personally I don't think you can make a trend (or a big thing) out of one month's numbers.

A wonderful dinner. Experts sit around a table at a nice restaurant and discuss their views of the world. The dinner was organized last night by the excellent Bottom Line newsletter. Highlights of the dinner::

+ This is the best time to build anything in New York City. Contractors are not busy. They're actually grateful for the work. I'm guessing this applies to other cities also.

+ This is the best time to move your retail store. Landlords are offering incredible deals -- bigger spaces, better spaces, less money. Landlords hate to have empty space.

+ The art biz is booming. This is a good time for serious investment in art. But you have to know what's good. Only the "good" is a great investment. Art can be a great investment. There are two ways to buy art -- primary (before and during the show) and secondary (in the aftermarket). Think IPO and the stockmarket. A painting costing $350,000 will sell for $800,000 in the secondary market. Guess where you should buy -- after you've become an expert.

This chair recently sold for $28 million:

The chair sold at Christie's was Yves Saint Laurent's 'Dragons' armchair, circa 1917-1919. Its estimated price was $2,587,711 to $3,881,567, but in the end it went for 25 million more. The chair is just one of the items that belonged to Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge. All told, 733 pieces went on the auction block and brought in an astounding $262 million in the auction's first night. Among the other items sold was a work by Henri Matisse which went for a record-setting $45,264,579. Other artists in Saint Laurent & Berge's collection included Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Cezanne, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Duchamp, Munch, Klimt and Mondrian just to name a few.

+ Asset allocation still works -- despite how much the colleges lost in the last year from investing in alternative strategies. For example, actively managed mutual funds "have beaten the pants" off index funds this year.

+ Botox works for migraine headaches. For more, click here and here.

+ Fatness leads to sickness. Think of it this way: You don't see any fat old people.

+ Videos are the new promotion tool. Make them of your products. Post the videos on YouTube, then embed the video on your own web site. You can rent a film crew for $300 a day in most cities.

+ Webinars, Facebook, Twitter, etc. also work. Think new promotional tools. They're much cheaper than newspaper or magazine advertising. (Another reason why those businesses are crumbling.)

+ Most people under 65 require $300 a year catastrophic health insurance -- not the full-blown $15,000 a year insurance they have today. People under 65 should visit their doctor two to three times a year for "wellness" visits.

+ Reality TV is booming because (1) It's cheaper to film, and (2) People are very curious about other people's lifestyles.

The trouble with wheels. A cement truck driver tries to take out coffee money.

A friend sent me a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of crashed vehicles in weird situations. Watch it for fun. Click here.

Talking of cars. From today's Wall Steer Journal:

WASHINGTON -- A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla, like Fisker, is a California startup focusing on high-end hybrids, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

Fisker's Karma hybrid sports car, above, will initially cost about $89,000.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.

You can read our government's bullshit arguments for giving this company $529 million of your money, click here.

North Korea’s Dollar Store. Office 39, North Korea’s billion-dollar crime syndicate, pays for Kim Jong Il’s missiles and cognac. Why did the Bush White House choose not to shut it down? Writes Vanity Fair:

Liu’s crimes threatened not only the integrity of America’s currency but the very fabric of international peace. They were part of a vast criminal enterprise believed to be controlled by the North Korean state, set up and used to finance its nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. All of this, intelligence analysts say, is coordinated by a secret agency inside the North Korean government controlled directly by “the Dear Leader,” Kim Jong Il, himself. The agency is known as Office 39.

For the entire fascinating piece (great weekend reading), click here.

Read the New Yorker online: Rather than giving away all its contents for free, the New Yorker lets you read the entire magazine online -- ads and all, in full color. The technology is neat. Watch it on your biggest computer monitor. Click here.

Spied in the men's bathroom of Boston's Liberty Hotel.

Above each urinal is a sign:

There's a business opportunity wherever you aim. And most of them are better than gambling on today's stockmarkets.

Favorite recent New Yorker cartoons:

Funny, nostalgic.... what else?

Get exercise. Eat less. Kiss the family. Pat the dog. Have a great weekend.

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.