Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
AM EST Wednesday, August 30, 2006: What can I report
of great joy? I spent most of yesterday reading, thinking, researching, speaking,
interviewing and then finally saying NO. Horribly time consuming and
most depressing. Hardly a productive use of my time. But it is. I convince myself.
There is a the One-in-a-Hundred Rule. One in a 100 investments you look
at are worth jumping in. 99% are drek. You're making money by not losing
The good part of yesterday was playing tennis. I won. My tennis elbow stood
up well. The big key is making sure you hit the ball in the racquet's sweet
spot, which is not easy if you're playing on green clay. Bounces are irrational.
As the economy
contracts, our best philosophy is "When in doubt, stay out."
I can now get the equivalent of 5% triple tax-free by simply buying totally-safe
muni bond floaters.
It's time to start
looking for shorts, perhaps among retailers. Costco (COST)
cut its outlook today. It said earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter would
miss its own prior expectations as well as current average analyst estimates
due to thinner-than-expected profit margins and an income-tax charge. This morning,
in early trading, Costco is down by $3, or 6%. You can make money
Vision is moving back up:
their drug to the FDA. It will be approved. They will find a big
pharma marketing partner. Newton's first rule: Everything takes longer than
it should. Newton's second rule: Don't tell your shareholders something
will happen you have little control over. Silence is golden.
I'm great on cliches this morning.
Biosciences (HNAB) said today that FDA has accepted for review the companys
New Drug Application (NDA) for Zensana (ondansetron HCl) Oral Spray. Hana
submitted an NDA for Zensana to seek approval for the prevention of chemotherapy,
radiation, and post-operative associated nausea and vomiting. The acceptance
of the filing means the FDA has made a threshold determination that the NDA
is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review. The FDA now has 10
months, but a ruling should come quicker.
pricing on eBay: Some things are actually more expensive on
eBay than in a normal retail store. Check. Check. Check.
has 432 million mobile phone users: That's far and away the most
for any country. They added 5.43 million new users in July. China Mobile
is the world's largest operator. It has been adding 4.28 million subscribers
a month on average this year. At the end of July, it had 278 million subscribers.
It will hit 300 million by end of this year. It's been moving up.
History Boys is great Broadway.
I won't spoil it for you. Make sure you see The History Boys, now playing to
sell-out audiences. I saw it last night for the second time and loved it even
more than the first time.
Good and bad businessmen. Good
ones reply to emails. Bad ones don't. End of story.
killed the newspaper? My first job was a cub reporter on a newspaper.
I know most are dying. But I'm sad, and nostalgic. From this week's Economist
print edition (though I picked the story up from their Internet site):
The most useful
bit of the media is disappearing. A cause for concern, but not for panic
newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself, mused Arthur Miller
in 1961. A decade later, two reporters from the Washington Post wrote
a series of articles that brought down President Nixon and the status of print
journalism soared. At their best, newspapers hold governments and companies
to account. They usually set the news agenda for the rest of the media. But
in the rich world newspapers are now an endangered species. The business of
selling words to readers and selling readers to advertisers, which has sustained
their role in society, is falling apart.
Of all the old
media, newspapers have the most to lose from the Internet. Circulation has
been falling in America, western Europe, Latin America, Australia and New
Zealand for decades (elsewhere, sales are rising). But in the past few years
the web has hastened the decline. In his book The Vanishing Newspaper,
Philip Meyer calculates that the first quarter of 2043 will be the moment
when newsprint dies in America as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the
last crumpled edition. That sort of extrapolation would have produced a harrumph
from a Beaverbrook or a Hearst, but even the most cynical news baron could
not dismiss the way that ever more young people are getting their news online.
Britons aged between 15 and 24 say they spend almost 30% less time reading
national newspapers once they start using the web.
is following readers out of the door. The rush is almost unseemly, largely
because the Internet is a seductive medium that supposedly matches buyers
with sellers and proves to advertisers that their money is well spent. Classified
ads, in particular, are quickly shifting online. Rupert Murdoch, the Beaverbrook
of our age, once described them as the industry's rivers of gold but,
as he said last year, Sometimes rivers dry up. In Switzerland
and the Netherlands newspapers have lost half their classified advertising
to the Internet.
not yet started to shut down in large numbers, but it is only a matter of
time. Over the next few decades half the rich world's general papers
may fold. Jobs are already disappearing. According to the Newspaper Association
of America, the number of people employed in the industry fell by 18% between
1990 and 2004. Tumbling shares of listed newspaper firms have prompted fury
from investors. In 2005 a group of shareholders in Knight Ridder, the owner
of several big American dailies, got the firm to sell its papers and thus
end a 114-year history. This year Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, attacked
the New York Times Company, the most august journalistic institution of all,
because its share price had fallen by nearly half in four years.
reality for years, newspapers are at last doing something. In order to cut
costs, they are already spending less on journalism. Many are also trying
to attract younger readers by shifting the mix of their stories towards entertainment,
lifestyle and subjects that may seem more relevant to people's daily lives
than international affairs and politics are. They are trying to create new
businesses on- and offline. And they are investing in free daily papers, which
do not use up any of their meager editorial resources on uncovering political
corruption or corporate fraud. So far, this fit of activity looks unlikely
to save many of them. Even if it does, it bodes ill for the public role of
the Fourth Estate.
In future, as
newspapers fade and change, will politicians therefore burgle their opponents'
offices with impunity, and corporate villains whoop as they trample over their
victims? Journalism schools and think-tanks, especially in America, are worried
about the effect of a crumbling Fourth Estate. Are today's news organizationsup
to the task of sustaining the informed citizenry on which democracy depends?
asked a recent report about newspapers from the Carnegie Corporation of New
York, a charitable research foundation.
relish the demise of once-great titles. But the decline of newspapers will
not be as harmful to society as some fear. Democracy, remember, has already
survived the huge television-led decline in circulation since the 1950s. It
has survived as readers have shunned papers and papers have shunned what was
in stuffier times thought of as serious news. And it will surely survive the
decline to come.
That is partly
because a few titles that invest in the kind of investigative stories which
often benefit society the most are in a good position to survive, as long
as their owners do a competent job of adjusting to changing circumstances.
Publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal should be
able to put up the price of their journalism to compensate for advertising
revenues lost to the Internet especially as they cater to a more global
readership. As with many industries, it is those in the middle neither
highbrow, nor entertainingly populist that are likeliest to fall by
of the press goes much wider than investigating abuses or even spreading general
news; it lies in holding governments to account trying them in the
court of public opinion. The Internet has expanded this court. Anyone looking
for information has never been better equipped. People no longer have to trust
a handful of national papers or, worse, their local city paper. News-aggregation
sites such as Google News draw together sources from around the world. The
website of Britain's Guardian now has nearly half as many readers in America
as it does at home.
a new force of citizen journalists and bloggers is itching to
hold politicians to account. The web has opened the closed world of professional
editors and reporters to anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection.
Several companies have been chastened by amateur postings of flames
erupting from Dell's laptops or of cable-TV repairmen asleep on the sofa.
Each blogger is capable of bias and slander, but, taken as a group, bloggers
offer the searcher after truth boundless material to chew over. Of course,
the Internet panders to closed minds; but so has much of the press.
reporting as opposed to comment the results of net journalism
have admittedly been limited. Most bloggers operate from their armchairs,
not the frontline, and citizen journalists tend to stick to local matters.
But it is still early days. New online models will spring up as papers retreat.
One non-profit group, NewAssignment.Net, plans to combine the work of amateurs
and professionals to produce investigative stories on the Internet. Aptly,
$10,000 of cash for the project has come from Craig Newmark, of Craigslist,
a group of free classified-advertisement websites that has probably done more
than anything to destroy newspapers' income.
In future, argues
Carnegie, some high-quality journalism will also be backed by non-profit organizations.
Already, a few respected news organizations sustain themselves that way
including the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor and National Public
Radio. An elite group of serious newspapers available everywhere online, independent
journalism backed by charities, thousands of fired-up bloggers and well-informed
citizen journalists: there is every sign that Arthur Miller's national conversation
will be louder than ever.
TEHRAN, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Police in Tehran have been ordering
Iranian women to cover up, stopping those they perceive as "badly veiled."
The crackdown followed the 2005 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Hadi
Ghaemi of Human Rights Watch said the penalty for violating a code that requires
the complete covering of women's heads and bodies in public depends on the officers
involved and the women's political connections. "The person could end up
in jail depending on their relationship with the authorities," he said. "Generally,
the imposition of strict Islamic codes has been increasing under Ahmadinejad."
The government has also been cracking down on a law banning Iranians from owning
US Tennis Open is on. But it's raining in New
we're meant to see Nadal, Federer, Sharapova and others play. But, who knows.
The skies look as though they're about to open up, again. For today's Schedule
of Play, click