Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Thursday, April 20, 2006: Jack
Brimberg, 80, runs a boutique brokerage company. Four days a week he hosts a
luncheon for 10 chosen people at the Rockefeller Center's ultra-spectacular
Rainbow Room. Price of admission is a short talk on what you're investing in
and why. First, my conclusions from yesterday's lunch:
There's an array of opportunities out there that boggle the mind. With effort
and research, everyone can find their own profitable "Perfect Investment"
+ The world is now everyone's oyster. I heard more international stuff yesterday
than I've ever heard. (Hint: stay away from Russia. The political risks of a
meltdown are too high. But Brazil is coming back nicely.)
+ Specialization is the key. Learn everything about an opportunity. Then place
your bets. If you don't know everything, follow Todd's Rule: "When in
doubt, stay out."
Now to what I heard:
+ Rising gold prices reflect a flight to real currency, away from fake paper
currency like the dollar. It's not hard to be bearish on the dollar.
+ Commodities will continue to boom, some more than others. One enterprising
fellow loved copper and zinc. His fund is up 60% so far this year. Stocks he
liked included copper company Gruppo Mexico, zinc miner Parelya in Australia,
Quadra Mining in Nevada and HudBay,
Canadian copper and zinc miner. Another
fellow liked Southern Copper, which has copper mines in Peru.
+ Brazilian bonds are recovering nicely. Brazilian TAM Airlines is exploding.
+ Our China expert believes China will boom, without a hiccup, for at least
another ten years. He says investments opportunities are now moving to the smaller
and medium size cities -- especially in highway construction and power plants,
which China needs in inexhaustible amounts. Item: A friend had a car dealership
in China. Five years ago, it did $500 million in sales. Last year it did $3.5
billion. There's also an inexhaustible demand for cars.
+ China needs help on services. It has lots of four and five star hotels. But
service stinks. Someone needs to train all those service people.
+ You can't outsource nursing homes. Your grandfather does not want to live
in Bangalore. There's still money in that business.
People sometimes say things to impress. Winnings are remembered. Losses are
forgotten. One fellow said he traded gold. Presently, he was long -- get this
-- 200 metric tonnes. He expected another 10% to 15% rise in the price
of gold in the next six months. He expected to have sold his gold stash within
six months. I don't make this stuff up.
Intel, a broken business model. I
was about to warn everyone of Intel... but they did it themselves. Last night
they reported a 38% drop in profits and predicted weak chip demand this
quarter. I didn't read their release. I didn't have to. I just bought a new
laptop, a Toshiba Tecra M5 -- my first one powered by the allegedly super-powerful,
super-fast Intel dual core processor. Well, based on several days of intensive
use, I'm unhappy to report I can't find one bit of improvement. The machine
is just as fast as my one year-old machine, Toshiba's previous model, the Tecra
M3. If Intel can no longer make microprocessors that work faster, its whole
business model is effectively kaput.
Please don't email me and tell me we're waiting on new software that will run
on the dual core processor. I know that. But I was assured by Toshiba (amongst
others) that I would notice some improvement immediately, especially running
multiple software. As I write this column, I typically have five or six pieces
of software open and running simultaneously. If anything, Intel's new dual-core
processor is slower than the old single core chip. Believe Intel when
it says weaker chip demand. It means weaker demand for its miserable new chips.
an important lesson here: It's nice to have backup systems. But if
you don't test them regularly, you're an idiot. Here's the story. The Roosevelt
Island aerial tramway crapped out yesterday when the diesel generator that powers
the system failed after a power surge. The backup generator wouldn't start.
Passengers in one car were saved by the red rescue box which has its own small
motor and can crawl along the cable. Passengers in the other car, which was
over land, were rescued by a gigantic crane. By 4:30 a.m. nearly 12 hours
after the trams first stalled all the passengers were safe and off the
I catch the tram regularly on the way to tennis. I can relate to 12 hours of
utter boredom waiting for my rescue. In short, test your backups
The Roosevelt Island Tram, my erstwhile favorite way of getting to tennis.
Fortunately that day I caught the subway.
really like this magazine:
Best Life is packed with advice, helpful hints, neat products and well-written
articles. A year is $19.97. A veritable bargain.
Setting up a web site without the expense.
From reader Peter Shaw:
some reason this appeals:
My wife Margie launched www.peakuniques.com
for far less than the $50K your friend has budgeted. The e-commerce engine
is by BV Software. There is
a community of designers and engineers surrounding the software. I also know
the founder of www.portalprodigy.com.
Very robust functionality for a few thousand bucks. Margie has a long history
in marketing, and was a web pioneer at Hotwired, so she came into the project
with a firm background. Definitely needed at this point in E-Commerce. She
also consults if your friend is so inclined. www.margieshaw.com.
Keep up the enjoyable blog, and don't forget your Mother's day shopping. Check
An 80-year old man goes to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor is amazed at
what good shape the guy is in and asks, "How do you stay in such great physical
"I'm a golfer,"
says the old guy, "and that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before
daylight and out golfing up and down the fairways."
says the doctor, "I'm sure that helps, but there's got to be more to it.
How old was your dad when he died?"
my dad's dead?"
The doctor is
amazed. "You mean you're 80 years old and your dad's still alive. How old
years old," says the old golfer. "In fact he golfed with me this morning,
and that's why he's still alive . . he's a golfer too."
the doctor says, "that's great, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.
How about your
dad's dad? How old was he when he died?"
my grandpa's dead?"
Stunned, the doctor
asks, "You mean you're 80 years old and your grandfather is still living!
Incredible, how old is he?"
years old," says the old golfer.
The doctor is
getting frustrated at this point, "So, I guess he went golfing with you
this morning too?"
couldn't go this morning because he's getting married today."
At this point
the doctor is close to losing it "Getting married! Why would a 118 year-old
guy want to get married?"
he wanted to?"
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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty 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 Claire's law school tuition.
Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.