Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Tuesday, March 28, 2006: Yesterday
I received an interest payment of $47,193. Clearly, I'm pleased. What makes
me more pleased is the fact that I feel the principal is safe. Nothing is more
important for my peace of mind than capital preservation.
will join the S&P 500 on Friday. This news
is sufficient to justify this big jump in the stock? Apparently yes.
I ever feel the slightest pang of doubt about safety, I will run from the
investment as fast as my two little legs will carry me. Nothing can make up
for a loss of principal. Nothing. Not in my lifetime."
"As a result, we think the stock will be in demand from funds and ETFs
that emulate the S&P 500, and to some extent, those whose benchmark is the
S&P 500," wrote Standard & Poor's equity research analyst Scott
Kessler in a research note Friday. "We consider this a major near-term
positive for the stock, but it does not change our skepticism about what we consider
the notable material challenges faced by Google." Kessler maintained
a "hold" rating on Google, which will replace Burlington Resources
in the index.
Depressed, elated, or simply surprised? From
today's New York Times:
The number of
American households with a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding their
principal residence, grew to a record 8.9 million last year. ... In
most large counties, about one household in 12, or about 8.5 percent,
was worth $1 million or more, Ms. Luhr said. An exception was Nassau County
on Long Island, where millionaire families were more than twice as common,
at 17.5 percent of all households.
had an average net worth, excluding principal residence, of nearly $2.2
million, of which more than $1.4 million was in liquid, or inevitable,
assets. The survey counted some tax-deferred retirement savings but did not
include individual retirement accounts in the liquid assets.
Despite a rising
stock market, Ms. Luhr said that more than half of those surveyed said they
had "become much more conservative in their investment approach over
the past year."
The survey found
that 29 percent of the millionaire households did not own stocks or
bonds and 32 percent did not own mutual funds. One in four had
a second mortgage on a home.
Half of the
heads of millionaire households were 58 or older, Ms. Luhr said, and
45 percent were retired.
Just 18.7 percent
of the millionaires own or owned before they retired part of
a business or professional practice. ...
capitalist Doerr makes pitch for green tech. From the San Jose
you buy extended warranties? What was once a three-year warranty is
now a one-year warranty. If you want the old warranty, you pay. Are extended warranties
worth it? Probably not. PC World Magazine did a survey. Of 2031 respondents,
63% bought the extended warranties. 37% didn't. Most seemed
happy with their decision. (I personally don't buy extended warranties, except
on washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.) PC World came up with
10 Extended Warranty Tips:
is piping hot right now. Buzz echoed in the ballroom at the Cleantech Venture
Network conference this week in San Francisco, where venture capitalists gathered
to discuss the future of alternative energy investments.
Most of the
more than 500 attendees -- up from 325 at the previous conference -- crammed
in to hear John Doerr, the well-known venture capitalist at Silicon Valley's
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, give a rousing talk about the urgent
need for more energy efficiency.
suffocate, and overrun, and pollute and poison our planet to death,'' he said
of the rampant growth in population of major cities -- with eight cities the
size of Manhattan being built every year, mainly in China, he noted.
A warming planet,
through climate change, is another threat. Doerr, who was joined onstage by
his partner John Denniston, displayed slides, including pictures of the entire
Bay Area sitting under water -- to show what would happen if global warming
melts away Greenland's ice sheet. The ice sheet's melting is well under way,
and its demise would lead to a 20-foot rise in ocean levels, he said.
are twofold. First is to implement sensible policies, including a market for
trading carbon emissions credits. Such a market would give credits to countries
that pollute less than their pre-set limit, and allow them to sell those credits
to other countries that want to pollute more than the limit. Doerr also recommends
more state and federal subsidies to help support alternative sources of energy,
Silicon Valley's strong suit, is the second answer Doerr offered. Companies
should search for ways to reduce the vast amounts of energy consumed by cars,
industrial pumps and other energy hogs.
He popped up
a slide of a new car called the Loremo. Created by a German start-up, Loremo
AG, the car is a super-efficient coupe that costs only 11,000 Euro ($13,200)
and promises an impressive 157 miles per gallon. It was shown in Geneva earlier
this month, and is expected to hit the market in 2008.
HOW DO YOU MAKE
GREEN BILLIONS?: The clean technology market has had a bad rep among investors
for decades, namely because it's been so hard to make money in the highly
regulated energy sector.
So if Doerr's
talk about saving the environment was too touchy-feely for profit-hungry investors,
the conference's second day may have made some salivate.
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, now apparently the richest Chinese man on mainland China,
gave a breakfast talk. Shi took his company, Suntech Power, public
on the New York Stock Exchange in December, and he is apparently personally
worth about $2.2 billion. The company, which makes solar cells and panels,
was the biggest tech IPO in 2005. And it's profitable.
1. Read the
terms before you buy: Nearly half of the people in our survey didn't read
the terms of the extended warranty beforehand. You don't have to read the warranty
in the checkout line -- take it home. You can usually buy it later.
2. Determine the coverage term: Look for the word inclusive, which
means the store's warranty overlaps with the manufacturer's -- so a four-year
extended warranty really gives you only three additional years on top of a standard
3. Beware shipping charges: If the product needs to be sent in for service,
you could get stuck with the tab.
4. Consider accidental damage coverage: Most policies do not cover products
that are damaged from falls, spilled coffee, or getting run over by the family
truck. You'll pay more to protect against the oops factor, but it may be worthwhile
for mobile products.
5. Know the cancellation terms: If you feel buyer's remorse, you can
usually get a full refund if you act quickly, or a prorated refund down the
road, provided you haven't used the warranty.
6. Look for extras: Many extended warranties cover replaceable items,
such as projection TV bulbs, which can cost $300 or more. But note how much
TV you watch, and compare it against the expected lifespan of the bulb.
7. Investigate the product's reliability: CRT televisions, for example,
hold up much better than sets with newer technologies. You can also predict
device reliability by examining a manufacturer's record on this score. Find
that data in PC World's annual Reliability and Service survey and Consumer Reports'
8. Weigh plan cost vs. product cost: For example, Best Buy charges $60
for a four-year plan on a $200 CRT television (30 percent of cost) and $400
for a four-year plan on a $4000 projection TV (10 percent). CRTs break down
less often, so paying the higher percentage doesn't make sense.
9. Shop around: A four-year plan for a Sony rear-projection TV set costs
$400 at Best Buy, $525 at Circuit City, and $600 at CompUSA.
10. Check your credit card terms: Some cards extend the manufacturer's
warranty. But if you need something fixed, you may have to pay up front and
maps impress: I paid money for Delorme Street Atlas 2006,
but Google Maps does a better, cleaner, easier job. And Google is free.
This Google map of Manhattan's upper west side is much cleaner than Delorme's
-- the erstwhile leader. First, Google.
Then Delorme. Notice that Columbus Circle is not a circle in Delorme's.
The Mall is not a road. Google doesn't show it. But Delorme does. Google
shows the roads the way they are, many windy. Delorme shows them as joined straight
lines, which is not the way they are.
Sorry about all this mapping stuff. I got fascinated with it late last night.
definitions are truly fun. Try them on your kids.
Avoidable: What a bullfighter tries to do.
Bernadette: The act of torching a mortgage.
Burglarize: What a crook sees with.
Eclipse: what an English barber does for a living.
Eyedropper: a clumsy ophthalmologist.
Heroes: what a guy in a boat does.
Left Bank: what the robber did when his bag was full of loot.
Misty: How golfers create divots.
Parasites: what you see from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Pharmacist: a helper on the farm.
Relief: what trees do in the spring.
Rubberneck: what you do to relax your wife.
Selfish: what the owner of a seafood store does.
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.
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