Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.
Auction Rate Preferreds.
8:30 AM EST Friday, April 18, 2008: These
bubbles are coming fast. I thought the next "Big" one would be alternative
energy. Wrong. It's commodities. And, best, it's still continuing. Bubbles are
happening increasingly often because plentiful money is now chasing scarce opportunities.
In my father's day, plentiful opportunities were chasing scarce money. Check
out yesterday's Bloomberg piece:
Commodity 'Bubble' Still in Growth Phase' (Update3)
April 17 (Bloomberg)
-- Billionaire George Soros said the boom in commodities is still in a "growth
phase'' after prices for oil, wheat and gold rose to records.
a generalized commodity bubble due to commodities having become an asset class
that institutions use to an increasing extent,'' Soros said today at an event
sponsored by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. "On
top of that you have specific factors that create the relative shortage of
oil and, now, also food.''
are in their seventh year of gains, with oil rising to a record $115.54 a
barrel today as the dollar plunged to an all-time low against the euro. Rice
has more than doubled in a year, while corn has advanced 68 percent and wheat
92 percent. Investments in commodities rose by more than a fifth in the first
quarter to $400 billion, Citigroup Inc. said April 7.
have outpaced stocks and bonds this year, spurring pension funds and other
investors to increase holdings in wheat, gold, copper and tin, which climbed
to a record.
The UBS Bloomberg
Constant Maturity Commodity Index of 26 commodities has returned 20 percent
this year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index of stocks has fallen
7.3 percent. U.S. Treasuries have returned investors 3 percent, according
to Merrill Lynch & Co. indexes.
echo those of Jim Rogers, a fellow founder of the Quantum Hedge Fund in the
1970s. Rogers is best known for being a commodities bull since the late 1990s,
before the market started to rally in 2001. His Rogers International Commodity
Index has more than quadrupled since its start in 1998.
largest banks and securities firms have reported more than $245 billion of
writedowns and credit losses since the start of last year. Bear Stearns Cos.
last month collapsed after losing the confidence of lenders and clients amid
the spreading crisis, leading to a planned purchase by JPMorgan Chase &
world is facing a very serious financial crisis,'' Soros said. "I call
it the most serious financial crisis of our lifetime and the financial system
is seriously disrupted.''
A week ago,
Soros said the seizure in global credit markets caused by the subprime collapse
will get worse before it gets better. He told reporters on a teleconference
that regulators and the U.S. administration "failed to perform their
He said today
that because authorities know how to respond to avert financial collapse,
"there's no question of a replay of the 1930s.''
Soros, 77, earned
an estimated $2.9 billion last year, ranking second after John Paulson,
founder of New York-based Paulson & Co., according to Institutional Investor's
trade I'm researching: It's called a paired trade. Sell RIMM. Buy Apple.
concept is that the iPhone will kill the BlackBerry. Within three months, the
iPhone will have everything the BlackBerry has today and a heck of a lot more.
If you don't believe me, ask your iPhone-toting friend to show you how his well
his email works on the iPhone (BlackBerry's erstwhile strength). (The iPhone
supports POP3 and IMAP email.) Ask him to show you his three favorite iPhone
features. Make sure he shows you surfing the net, how he has his kids' photos
organized.. Then read these two releases -- one from Kleiner Perkins and one
from Apple. To be fair, BlackBerry also has a developers' kit, but it's much
more limited. Apple is focusing on applications for both the corporation and
the world and they'll help you sell them. BlackBerry is focusing on apps for
your company, which doesn't excite entrepreneurs. The only thing missing with
Apple is a button keyboard. Stick around. We're expecting new iPhone shortly.
iFund is a $100M investment initiative that will fund market-changing
ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch
platform. The iFund is agnostic to size and stage of investment and
will invest in companies building applications, services and components. Focus
areas include location based services, social networking, mCommerce (including
advertising and payments), communication, and entertainment. The iFund
will back innovators pursuing transformative, high-impact ideas with an eye
towards building independent durable companies atop the iPhone / iPod touch
new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that's
exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch," said John
Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "We think several
significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the
iFund will empower them to realize their full potential."
are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they
have the chance to turn those ideas into great companies with the help of
world-class venture capitalists," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We
can't wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they fund
through this new initiative."
Pelago Inc. is the first company to receive financial backing through the
iFund. Their social discovery service, Whrrl, will be available on the iPhone
as a native application in June 2008.
will be managed by KPCB Partner Matt Murphy in collaboration with partners
Chi-Hua Chien, John Doerr, Bill Joy, Randy Komisar, Ellen Pao and Ted Schlein.
Apple will provide KPCB with market insight and support.
iPhone 2.0 Software Beta Includes SDK & Built-in Microsoft Exchange
6, 2008Apple® today previewed its iPhone 2.0 software, scheduled
for release this June, and announced the immediate availability of a beta
release of the software to selected developers and enterprise customers. The
iPhone 2.0 beta release includes both the iPhone Software Development Kit
(SDK) as well as new enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange
ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars
as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted
access to private corporate networks.
excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community with potentially
thousands of native applications for iPhone and iPod touch, said Steve
Jobs, Apples CEO. iPhones enterprise features combined with
its revolutionary Multi-Touch user interface and advanced software architecture
provide the best user experience and the most advanced software platform ever
for a mobile device.
The iPhone SDK
provides developers with a rich set of Application Programming Interfaces
(APIs) and tools to create innovative applications for iPhone and iPod®
touch. Starting today, anyone can download the beta iPhone SDK for free and
run the iPhone Simulator on their Mac®. Apple today also introduced its
new iPhone Developer Program, giving developers everything they need to create
native applications, and the new App Store, a breakthrough way for developers
to wirelessly deliver their applications to iPhone and iPod touch users.
With the iPhone
SDK, third party developers will be able to build native applications for
the iPhone with a rich set of APIs, including programming interfaces for Core
OS, Core Services, Media and Cocoa Touch technologies. The iPhone SDK will
allow developers to create amazing applications that leverage the iPhones
groundbreaking Multi-Touch user interface, animation technology, large
storage, built-in three-axis accelerometer and geographical location technology
to deliver truly innovative mobile applications.
Apple has licensed
Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft and is building it right into the iPhone,
so that iPhone will connect out-of-the-box to Microsoft Exchange Servers 2003
and 2007 for secure over-the-air push email, contacts, calendars and global
address lists. Built-in Exchange ActiveSync support also enables security
features such as remote wipe, password policies and auto-discovery. The iPhone
2.0 software supports Cisco IPsec VPN to ensure the highest level of IP-based
encryption available for transmission of sensitive corporate data, as well
as the ability to authenticate using digital certificates or password-based,
multi-factor authentication. The addition of WPA2 Enterprise with 802.1x authentication
enables enterprise customers to deploy iPhone and iPod touch with the latest
standards for protection of Wi-Fi networks.
The iPhone 2.0
software provides a configuration utility that allows IT administrators to
easily and quickly set up many iPhones, including password policies, VPN setting,
installing certificates, email server settings and more. Once the configuration
is defined it can be easily and securely delivered via web link or email to
the user. To install, all the user has to do is authenticate with a user ID
or password, download the configuration and tap install. Once installed, the
user will have access to all their corporate IT services.
The iPhone 2.0
software release will contain the App Store, a new application that lets users
browse, search, purchase and wirelessly download third party applications
directly onto their iPhone or iPod touch. The App Store enables developers
to reach every iPhone and iPod touch user. Developers set the price for their
applicationsincluding freeand retain 70 percent of all sales revenues.
Users can download free applications at no charge to either the user or developer,
or purchase priced applications with just one click. Enterprise customers
will be able to create a secure, private page on the App Store accessible
only by their employees. Apple will cover all credit card, web hosting, infrastructure
and DRM costs associated with offering applications on the App Store. Third
party iPhone and iPod touch applications must be approved by Apple and will
be available exclusively through the App Store.
The iPhone SDK
provides a reliable, fast and secure way to create innovative applications
for the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to the rich set of iPhone OS APIs,
the iPhone SDK also provides advanced tools for creating native iPhone and
iPod touch applications including: Xcode® for source code editing, project
management and graphical debugging; Interface Builder with drag and drop interface
creation and live preview; Instruments to monitor and optimize iPhone application
performance in real time; and the iPhone Simulator to run and debug applications.
During the beta
iPhone SDK program, a limited number of developers will be accepted into Apples
new iPhone Developer Program and offered the ability to get code onto iPhones
for testing. The Standard Program costs $99 (US) per year and gives members
an iPhone SDK and development tools; access to pre-release iPhone software;
technical support; the ability to get code onto iPhones for testing; and distribution
of applications via the new App Store. The Enterprise Program costs $299 (US)
to these new iPhone network and security features, the beta iPhone 2.0 software
provides several new Mail features such as the ability to view PowerPoint
attachments, in addition to Word and Excel, as well as the ability to mass
delete and move email messages.
to release the final iPhone 2.0 software, including the iPhone SDK and new
enterprise features, as a free software update for all iPhone customers by
the end of June. Third party applications created for the iPhone will also
run on the iPod touch, and iPod touch users will be required to purchase a
software update to run these applications. The free beta iPhone SDK is available
immediately worldwide and can be downloaded at developer.apple.com/iphone/program.
The iPhone Developer Program will initially be available in the US and will
expand to other countries in the coming months. Apple is accepting applications
beginning today from enterprise customers who would like to join the private
iPhone Enterprise Beta Program (www.apple.com/iphone/enterprise).
the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented
the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues
to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X
operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading
the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players
and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its
of the day: Goldspring Inc. is buying small gold and silver mines
out west. It is reputed to have some neat technology to glean gold out of mines
others have considered mined out. It's a total spec, with shares selling for
under two cents.
begins tomorrow: Jews define their holidays
as having three characteristics:
They tried to kill us.
So, let's eat.
you can find kosher Coca Cola, buy it. It contains real sugar and tastes better
than the crap we normally buy which contains high fructose corn syrup, which
is cheaper but doesn't taste as good. According to Jewish law, nothing made
with chametz (any of a number of proscribed cereals and grains, including corn)
during Passover may be consumed so in order not to lose sales from observant
Jews during that eight day period, a small number of Coca-Cola bottlers make
a limited batch of the original Coke formulation, using refined sugar. Stocks
run out quickly and fans of Passover Coke have been known to travel many miles
seeking out supermarkets with remaining caches.
best Passover story is:
is taking the Israelites away from Egypt. He arrives at the Red Sea. He calls
for his VP Engineering to build a bridge.
"No such luck, boss. Look around. We're in the desert. No wood. No nothing."
calls for his VP Sales, "Go ride back to the Egyptians. I can see them
in the distance. Ask them if they're up for a deal?"
such luck, boss. They simply want us dead."
disgust and desperation, he calls for his VP Public Relations.
what can you?"
boss. See that rock. Stand on it. Hold your hands in the air. Ask God to part
the Red Sea. He will. Take the Israelites through. When you reach the other
side, there'll be another rock. Stand on it. Wait for the Egyptian army to be
in the middle of the parted Red Sea. When they are, stand on the rock. Raise
your hands and ask God to close the Red Sea, which He will."
looks quizzically at Yankele. "This stuff gonna work?" Moses asks.
" Boss, frankly, I'm not sure. But if it does, I'll get you three pages
in the Old Testament."
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
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