Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
9:00 AM EST, Wednesday, February 11, 2009. Tim
Geithner is heavy on rhetoric, but light on specifics. Mr. Market didn't like
that and fell a whopping 4.6% yesterday, mostly in financials. This is not
surprising , given that the shares of the major banks are -- as I've written
endlessly -- worthless.
Is the recession the cure or the problem? You can't do controlled experiments
in economics. Whatever you do is a gamble. This administration's plan is the
most expensive gamble of them all.
We have another
leg down to go. This will get a lot worse -- in the stockmarket and
in the economy -- before it begins to get better. The stockmarket will get
better before the economy. Neither are getting better any time soon.
You need to
harbor your few remaining shekels close to your mattress, and cut your expenses.
will your Stimulus money be spent? We don't know yet. The stimulus
package is a blank check. The administration will spend the money whichever
way it chooses. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has released a list of "shovel-ready"
projects in cities around the country that the mayors would like to see funded.
President Obama has promised to spend stimulus dollars only on critical projects.
Whatever that means.
got together and coded The Mayors' list of projects for publication on the
Internet. It's now at StimulusWatch.org.
You can sort the list in many creative ways, including, my favorite, "most
expensive." And the prize is from the city of Cidra, Puerto Rico, which
wants $17.5 billion to fix 100 acres for "New Energy Efficiency Industrial
The city of
Laurel, MS wants $99,600 for door bells. Chula Vista, CA wants $500,000 for
a dog park. Lewiston, ME wants $50,000 for two dog parks. Arlington, TX wants
$6 million for golf course renovations. And Hempstead, NY wants $1 million
for an indoor soccer field.
new FDIC-insurance wrinkle. The $250,000 FDIC insurance on bank
deposits and CDs expires at the end of this year and reverts back to $100,000
-- unless Congress acts. This screws up buying CDs that are longer than nine
act? I'm guessing yes. But guessing what Congress will do is right up there
with astrology and reading tea leaves.
long will the recession last? Another couple
of years, at least. Check out this Bloomberg video interview with Nouriel
best investment is at your local post office. Come
May, first class mail prices will rise -- but not if you own the "forever"
stamp. Buy it today, you're guaranteed a 9.52% return. Think of the stamp
as a credit default swap on mailing a letter.
Murdoch must think I'm totally stupid. My
Wall Street Journal subscription expires soon. He sent me a one-year
renewal for $349. Yet he promotes a one-year "limited time introductory
offer" for $99, which includes the online version. My dog Winnie Newton
is about to enjoy her very own Wall Street Journal. Click
here for the cheap sub.
News Corporation, the media empire controlled by Mr. Murdoch, reported recently
that it lost $6.4 billion in its second quarter as profit fell sharply
at its television and movie units. The company also took a large writedown
of $8.4 billion, about $3 billion of which reflected a decline
in the value of the companys newspaper unit, which includes Dow Jones,
the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. bought Dow Jones
just over a year ago for about $5 billion. The writedown indicates
that it has lost significant value -- perhaps as much as 60%. Wow!
with your suppliers or find new ones. Call each of your suppliers.
Tell them they have to help you out and drop their prices. If they don't,
call them back in two days and try again. If that doesn't work, call their
competitors. Three phone calls in the past week yielded savings of 66%, 25%
and 36%. I don't want to name names for fear of embarrassing them. Some companies
(like hotels) don't want to drop their prices, but will include useful goodies
for free. That's another way of skinning the beast.
+ Video-phone calls.
Great for grandkids and distant relatives.
Get the latest version for free. You'll need a web camera and microphone.
But many laptops now come with them built in. Skype
for Windows download. and Skype
for the Mac.
+ Cell phone
for the hard-of-hearing. Today's Wall Street Journal features a positive
Plantronics' ClarityLife C900.
+ Most handsome
notebook sleeve. It's made by Shoreline and fits three sizes of laptops
-- 12", 14" and 17". Click
nüvi 350 GPS. I love this in my car.
But I just discovered I can carry it with me and use it when I'm walking or
in a rented car. It has a huge battery, chargeable with a BlackBerry adapter.
$249 from Amazon.
Show your photos and your videos on your big flat-screen TV.
Transfer your photos and videos to your laptop.
Fix them. Then show the family your brilliance. You'll need two cables. The
left one transmits the sound. You connect it to incoming sound. The right
one transmits the video. You connect to an input, typically labeled PC. You
get the cables at Radio Shack.
all posture. My arm still hurts from mopping
and tennis last weekend. Yesterday I visited a sports therapist, who deals
with dumb, hurting tennis players. Lessons from yesterday's visit:
It's all posture. Stand straight, neck erect. Your body will work for
you. Stand crooked with one shoulder higher than the other and your head hunched
forward, you'll put pressure on your body, which will eventually (and predictably)
rebel. That was my problem. My posture sucks.
2. It's all common sense. Don't mess with logic. 3 1/2 hours of tennis
and one hour of aggressive mopping is idiotic. Get sufficient rest. Don't
lift or carry heavy things. Use a backpack, not a briefcase. Don't shovel
snow. Don't push yourself to do things you didn't do 25 years ago. The obvious
3. Your neck
is the center of the universe. My arm problems are caused by a "crick"
in my neck, also called a muscle spasm, or a knot. When my therapist worked
on my neck, my arm felt better.
and anger worsen things. Being stupid doesn't help. Get up from your desk.
Your computer is not your body's best friend.
5. Rest cures
everything eventually -- especially if you fix the posture with some simple
exercises and walk like your mother taught you to.
get on the tennis court before you're fixed. You'll make things worse.
Give yourself time. When in doubt, stay out. (Heh, that works for stocks,
also.) I did some biking yesterday. It wasn't aggressive exercise. But it
solved cabin fever.
News. Hope for us all. The oldest dog ever won Best in Show
on Tuesday at the 133rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club show. Stump is 10 and
doesn't have any posture problems. Not as pretty as our Winnie, however.
lessons from a US Airways Hudson River survivor:
1. Cherish your families as never before and go to great lengths
to keep your promises.
2. Be thankful and grateful for everything you have and don't worry about
the things you don't have.
3. Keep in shape. You never know when you'll be called upon to save your own
life, or help someone else save theirs.
4. When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when you'll end up
in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and pajamas and of absolutely
no use to yourself or anyone else.
a bank? Please follow Harry's three Lending
lend money to those who dont have any.
lend money to those who need it.
lend your own money.
I want to share my joy with you. I
have just won $1000 in the lottery.
give me $500 and I will share your joy.
Q: Why did God create sell-side analysts ?
to make weather forecasters look good.
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
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note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay
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