Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Tuesday, August 28, 2007: I don't
like what I'm reading. Unsold houses at a 16-year high. Investor confidence
low. Falling housing values. Escalating credit card debt (which I just helped
-- see below).
The consumer --
you and me -- are 70% of the U.S. economy. Our spending counts. We borrowed
heavily on our homes to build second homes and furnish them with big TVs and
PCs. Now it's all over. The consumer has debts up the ying-yang and not enough
income to pay them off.
I'm worried about
I don't see the
upside. I don't see any tide approaching to make stockmarkets rise.
I hate to time
the markets. This is a good time to be heavily hedged (remember those general
hedges) and in cash.
P.S. My Toll Brothers
shorts are in the money. I should have shorted all the home builders. It's probably
not too late. My index shorts -- DXD and QID -- are not yet in the money.
booms in Australia: Excerpted from the latest
Australia's outback deserts lack in water they make up for in uranium. They
contain almost 40% of the world's known low-cost reserves of the nuclear fuel.
It is big business for Australia: exploration companies are at present spending
ten times more money searching for deposits than they did three years ago.
And ore from Australia's three operating mines supplies about a quarter of
the world's uranium-oxide exports. Until now all this has gone to countries
that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This ensures,
in theory, that they will use it to produce electricity rather than bombs.
But on August 16th John Howard, Australia's prime minister, said he would
lift a ban on selling uranium to India, which refuses to sign the NPT, has
tested nuclear weapons and does not rule out testing more.
are speculative. One Australian explorer (not miner) I like is Metex Resources
Limited (MEE). It has two things going for it: a broad exploration program.
It's looking for a lot of minerals, not just uranium. Second, it has Kim Robinson
as chairman, who's also the executive chairman of Kagara Zinc (KZL), which has
done so handsomely.
In the U.S. my
friends like Uranium Resources (URRE). Maybe when it drops more. Meantime, it's
playing IT manager for a couple of non-profits: Simple
things I've learned:
1. The price
of everything -- from computers to Internet circuits -- has come down. We
just swapped out a T-1 circuit costing $650 a month for a business cable modem
costing $350 a month -- with seven times the download speed. Think about that:
Seven times the speed for 46% less money. Web hosting has also come down dramatically
in price -- from hundreds of dollars per month to $10-$25. The price reductions
2. The price
of everything can be bargained. One BlackBerry's data service will cost
you $60 a month. But 20 BlackBerries' data service will cost $20 a month each.
3. Users need
frequent training. There's basics -- like not opening attachments from unknown
people. There's expectation management. Some things can be done, but the cost
and skills necessary are high.
4. Stop planning
for 5 years. Do it now. Solve today It's very easy not to change. It works
(sort of), why mess with it? But it often doesn't work as well as it should.
Hence the need to change NOW. Urgency is hard idea, especially when too many
people have to sign off.
gave me money. Which is as good as cash. A few days ago, Bloomingdales
sent me a $300-off coupon if I bought a suit from them. I needed a suit for
my daughter's wedding. So I bought one yesterday, saving $300. But I also opened
a Bloomies credit card, saving another 10% on the suit and a couple of pairs
of pants. Once they're all altered to fit my boyish figure, I'll walk out of
Bloomies without spending a nickel.
Once I get the
Bloomies bill, I'll pay it in full, and never buy anything on it again. Every
time I go shopping (which is not often), I always ask, "Do I get a discount
if I open a credit card with you guys?" Brooks Brothers was the best. They
gave me 20% off on shirts that were already on sale.
darling tiny light powerful laptops: If you're
schlepping a laptop around all day weight makes a huge difference. Two machines
are super light -- the IBM/Lenovo X61s Thinkpad and the Toshiba Portege R500.
Despite his life-long experience with (and my love for) Toshibas, Michael chose
the Lenovo to take to business school. The major reason was the red pointing
stick . Like me, he's hooked on the speed and precision of the keyboard pointing
stick mouse versus the slow imprecise touchpad that's on the Portege (and most
are other small differences. The Toshiba is slightly lighter. The Toshiba comes
with a built-in DVD drive. To get that with the Lenovo, you have to buy a docking
station. The screen sizes are different. The Toshiba is "wide-screen"
-- 1280 x 800 pixels. The Lenovo is 1024 x 768. But both screens are superb,
easy on the eyes.
The big difference between them is the keyboard. The Lenovo is smaller.
The keys are 4% smaller than on my full-sized laptop. I had no trouble getting
used to the Lenovo. The backspace is half size on the Lenovo, full-size on the
Toshiba. The Lenovo has 89 keys; the Toshiba 85. The Lenovo has two extra keys
for moving a browser back and forwards. They're in between the arrow keys on
the bottom right of the keyboard. I love them. They're ultra useful.
machines will come with Windows XP. Michael's business school insisted on it,
shunning Vista. If you want to change the keyboard layout -- and Michael and
I do -- then download a tiny, ultra-reliable piece of software called TradeKeys.
Sadly, it won't work with Vista. The Lenovo comes with a slighter faster processor
-- 1.6. GHz versus 1.2 GHz. But both machines are fast enough for whatever task
you throw at them. Make sure you get 2 gigs of memory.
US Open Tennis is on. Here's the TV schedule.
Many hours of great tennis.
great things our grandchildren (I wish) said:
A mother was preparing
pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
"If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, 'Let my brother have the first
pancake, I can wait.'
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"
A father was at
the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed
his hand, and led him to the shore
where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.
"He died and went to Heaven," the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
"Did God throw him back down?"
A wife invited
some people to dinner.
At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
"Would you like to say the blessing?"
"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied.
"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite
all these people to dinner?"
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 .
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