Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Friday, January 13, 2006: It's
Friday the 13th. Walk under as many ladders as you can.
The Wall Street
Journal's Heard on the Street column today says Whole Foods
shares are pricey. Click
here. Dah! The last time I thought they were pricey I recommended we
take a little off the table. I did. And the stock went higher, much higher.
Fortunately I kept most of my shares.
Is the Journal right? The stock is richly priced. But my Google Alerts
"buzz" meter is still inundating me with stories every day. If ever
that flow of hype, buzz and publicity ebbs, I'll know it's time to loosen up
more. But for now... The latest story is about Whole Foods getting into -- of
all things -- wind energy to power its stores. Nice touch for an organic food
The Ultimate Cockroach stock: It's
time to short GM again. GM is going broke. But it still pays a hefty dividend.
Jerome York, an adviser to Kirk Kerkorian who owns 7.8% of GM's shares, is pushing
the board to cut its ridiculously high dividend by half. The dividend gives
the shares a huge 9% yield. I bet the board will cut its dividend shortly. As
the Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday, "If GM's Big Yield Vanishes,
Investors May Do the Same."
story gets weirder.
stock has risen recently because Goldman Sachs raised its rating to "in
line" from "underperform." Yet the analyst told the Journal,
"Our long-term view of GM fundamentals remains squarely negative, due to
severe revenue and cost pressures related to ongoing share loss and onerous
you tell me, how can you upgrade a stock whose fundamentals you believe remain
squarely negative? For only one reason, Goldman Sachs smells some investment
banking deal.... Or am I being unfair? Wall Street makes me sick.
basic problem: Everyone loves the product, but hates the stock because
it's done so badly. That makes playing with the stock difficult. It should be
the world's second greatest short (after GM). But ... yesterday David Miller,
an analyst at Sanders Morris Harris, (whoever they are) upgraded TiVo shares
to "Hold" from "Sell," (that's an upgrade?). Miller said
the the stock is down measurably (16% in 2005 alone) and has "drastically
underperformed most of the indexes" (really!).
"We now peg the shares to trade at what we consider fair value given the
headwinds TiVo is currently facing." Miller said TiVo shares have taken
a hit because of price elasticity in the hardware business, the phasing down
of DirecTV Group Inc. as a promotional partner and a "poorly communicated"
management shift to Chief Executive Tom Rogers, the former CEO of Primedia Inc.,
who replaced TiVo co-founder Mike Ramsay. Miller maintained his earnings estimates
for TiVo, forecasting a fourth-quarter operating loss of 21 cents per
share, on service and tech revenue of $45.6 million.
So, get this,
he's upgrading the stock because it's "taken a hit," not because its
losses are going to improve, or, God Forbid, it's going to show profits. And
TiVo actually rose 20 cents (3.7%) on this nonsensical Wall Street "logic."
TiVo-To-Go CAN be fixed: You program your TiVo
to record shows. Then you play them back when you wish. That's TiVo's basic
usefulness. That's why we all bought TiVo. But you'd like to do more:
Offload some of the shows from the your TiVo to something else -- because your
TiVo's hard disk is full and erasing all your favorite shows.
2. Move some shows to your laptop or a DVD, so you can take the shows with you
and watch them on a plane or at your country house. Or send them to a friend.
doesn't make this easy. But, after many hours of screwing around, I've figured
Buy a Linksys 10/100 Compact USB 2.0 Network Adapter.
Click here. Buy a seven foot Ethernet cable. Click
here. Those are for connecting your TiVo to your laptop and to the Internet.
2. Download TiVo-To-Go software from TiVo's web site. Click
here. You must have a TiVo series 2 machine. Most of us do. For information
on how to install it, go
the USB network adapter into your TiVo and the cable into the adapter. Plug
the cable into the router or hub your laptop is connected to. I'm guessing this
router or hub is connected to your cable modem or DSL line. This will allow
TiVo to pick up its program information over the Internet, rather than wasting
a phone line.
4. Install the TiVo-To-Go software on your Ethernet-equipped
laptop. Run the software. With luck the TiVo-to-Go software will recognize
your TiVo and say everything is wonderful. By starting TiVo Desktop (which is
what it's called on your laptop) and hitting "Pick recordings to transfer,
you should "see" the shows that you have recorded on your TiVo.
5. With luck you may be able to highlight a show and "start transferring"
it to your laptop. But, it probably won't transfer. Many hours later, I figured
the solution. You need to plug your TiVo's Ethernet cable directly into
your laptop, bypassing the hub or the router. I don't understand why
you need to do this. I stumbled on it by accident -- TiVo's support group is
6. OK. Now you have your shows on your laptop. You can take that laptop with
you and play the shows on that laptop. That works. You can even burn DVDs of
the show. But you can only watch the DVDs on your TiVo-To-Go equipped
laptop. That's because TiVo encrypts the shows -- don't ask why -- and they
appear as a file with a TiVo extension which no movie playing software (QuickTime,
Windows Media Player, RealPlayer) can play. There is a solution...
7. Download a free piece of software called DirectShow Dump. Click
here. Install it on your TiVo-To-Go equipped laptop. Next time you have
a show with a TiVo extension, you simply run DirectShow Dump, pick the
TiVo show you want to convert and say "Do it." The software converts
the TiVo show to a standard MPEG format which any computer (PC, Mac, laptop,
etc.) can play. You can't watch it with a DVD player. That's a different animal.
But frankly, watching TiVo shows on your laptop is perfectly acceptable. I'm
assembling a small library or Roger Federer tennis matches. This way I can check
if he's mastered everything I taught him. (I wish).
8. You can also use video editing software and remove all the commercials. But
you didn't read that here.
Big Ruckus is cute and useful:
This thing gets 60 miles to a gallon, makes highway speeds with its 250 cc engine,
has a frame strong enough for New York's potholes, has automatic transmission,
a passenger seat with backrest, is cheap to park and costs only $5,500. Which
is a lot cheaper than your gas-guzzling SUV. Honda has an array of what it calls
scooters. My friend has one. He loves it.
A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office.
"Is it true,"
she wanted to know, "that the medication you prescribed has to be taken
for the rest of my life?"
afraid so," the doctor told her.
There was a moment
of silence before the senior lady replied, "I'm wondering, then, just how
serious is my condition because this prescription is marked 'No refills'."
the new sports car
A man who has finally made it in business treats himself to a new Lamborghini!
After buying it, he feels guilty so he goes to the Orthodox Rabbi and asks for
a mezuzah for the Lamborghini.
a mezuzah for what?" the Rabbi asks.
"It's a Lamborghini,"
Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
blasphemy!" the Rabbi shouts. "You want a mezuzah for a sports car?
Go to the conservatives!"
Well, the man
is disappointed, but goes to the Conservative Rabbi and asks for a mezuzah.
"You want a mezuzah for what?" the Rabbi asks.
"For my Lamborghini",
the man replies.
Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
"A car, a
of sports car?" asks the Rabbi.
is blasphemy!" the Rabbi shouts. "You want a mezuzah for a Goyishe
car? Go to the Reform!"
Again, the man
feels guilty and disappointed,! but goes to the Reform Rabbi.
he asks, "I'd like a mezuzah for my Lamborghini."
a Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
what it is?" says the man.
It's a fantastic Italian sports car... What's a mezuzah?"
+ Munich, the movie. A must-see. Click
+ Identity Theft precautions. Click
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click
+ All turned on by biotech. Click
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available:
Click here. The full audio is available. Click
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click
+ When to sell stocks. Click
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
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