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 6, 2007: The
stockmarket's fall has been gruesome. How gruesome? Draw the index on a daily
basis. It looks awful:
Draw it on a weekly
basis. It doesn't look so bad.
Ditto for the
S&P. This is daily. Looks awful.
This is weekly.
Not so bad.
What now? There
are several strategies:
1. You shouldn't
be on margin. If you are, pay the money back instantly, if not sooner.
2. Go "defensive." Sell those stocks that still have high P/Es. Sell
those large stocks that could be hit by a recession -- if we have one. (There
is a real chance.)
3. Sell short
some stocks that look over-priced based on industry specifics. More about that
4. Don't panic.
Don't dump everything and move to deserted Pacific island. There are an awful
lot of hedge funds and mutual funds with money that will pounce on your stocks.
Gently goes it.
5. Don't jump in because "prices are now cheap." They may get a lot
cheaper. As I said, there is a real chance of a recession later this year....
recovery. My friends in the residential real
estate business tell me:
1. Their sales
of houses, apartments and condos dropped to zero in the last four months of
2. This year sales have roared back. They don't know why. Some think it was
because of their 20% price drop. Others who didn't drop prices were lucky because
they were in hot places, like Manhattan. The new apartment building three blocks
down the road from me is selling condos at over $3,000 a square foot. That's
a lot of money. New York, Arizona and California are coming back. Many other
states remain slow.
3. A lot of housing foreclosures are about to hit the market. These will be
at the low end of the housing market -- largely from subprime borrowers. Buy
them cheap enough and you might have a rental business. But, be aware, renting
cheap is a hard business. And maintenance is hugely expensive.
of voice mail? Try Simulscribe: Simulscribe
converts your voicemail into emails and sends them directly to your inbox --
which can be on your BlackBerry and/or your laptop. There are huge advantages
to reading voice mail.
You don't have to keep checking your voice mail for the important one you're
2. It's easier to read than listen. There are places you can't listen, but can
read, like meetings.
They attach a wave recording of the voice mail. You can always listen to the
message if you think the transcription screwed up.
4. It's great for traveling. Easier than calling the U.S. to find if you have
a message, or not.
5. You can email a response to a voice mail.
6. You don't have to write down all the numbers and other information in your
voice mail. As an email, it's there and indexable by your PC's search engine.
You can find the information easily.
7. It's easier to scroll through emails than it is to scroll through voice mails.
To get to an important voice mail, you have to listen to all your messages.
My son, Michael, turned me onto Simulscribe. As a test, I called him this morning
and left a voice mail with numbers. A minute later, my voice mail came in. The
transcription from my weird accent to text was flawless. Simulscribe
had even improved my miserable grammar. The message made more sense than the
way I had spoken it. No kidding. Try Simulscribe for a week for free. Click
Internet technology to boost your profits: If you run a company,
you need to focus on how the Internet can help you get a leg up on your competitors.
Here are some of my favorite "customer-pleasing" that some (very few)
web sites have:
+ A "permanent"
Shopping Cart, also called basket. My Amazon shopping cart will always be there
- even if I have to shut my laptop down and go out. The contents of most Shopping
Carts disappear the moment you close your browser.
+ I like sites
that store my profile. If I buy from you often, why should I have to keep typing
my address in. And yes, you should store my credit card number.
+ A reminder list
of what I bought last time. As I go to check out at Staples.com, it brings up
a list asking me if I'd like to reorder some things. It reminds me I need more
toner for the copier and more paper for the fax machine. This nagging is actually
+ A reminder emailing.
When Zappos gets new Pumas in, it tells me. It also includes a link so I can
easily buy more Puma sneakers I don't need.
+ A "continue
shopping" button that takes me back to the place I just left. Often if
I buy two of something. I added it to my shopping basket. It's taken me there.
But hitting the continue shopping button won't take me back to where I was.
+ I like "Wish
Lists." When I get rich, I'll buy them. Meantime, it's great to have my
list kept for me.
+ "It's out
of stock, but when it comes in, we'll send you an email." This is useful.
Many sites simply say "It's out of stock. Tough."
+ Customer reviews
of products are useful. Most web sites are afraid of what their customers might
say about their products. But a great customer review will sell more than a
great seller review.
+ I like the full
specifications. That includes size, voltage needs, etc. I had to email PCConnection.com
to find out the size of a printer they were selling. The printer fit my pocket.
But I didn't know if it fit my space. It took PCCConnection two days to respond
to my email. Which brings me to:
+ Your web site
should have an easy way customers can email you and ask a simple question. They
should get an email response within 15 minutes - not 48 hours as many of today's
web sites say.
+ The search engines
on most web sites are pretty miserable. To find something, you often have to
enter it in many "creative" ways before you actually find what you
want. For example, I wanted to buy a Canon SD800 camera. But I didn't know if
it was spelled SD800, SD-800 or SD 800. Searching all three ways on camera retailer
sites turns up remarkably different results.
+ Some sites are
awfully slow. Vanguard is a disgrace. It gives slowness a whole new meaning.
+ Some sites are
"all over the place." In some you'll find buttons on the top, on the
left side, and on the bottom. My favorite is the site that puts in the logon
button at the top and the logout button on the bottom.
+ I like sites
that include maps.
+ Do it yourself
boarding passes, movie tickets, etc. I have a printer. Use it. Why should I
stand in line when I can print my own boarding pass or movie ticket. Remember
we do have something called bar codes. And they work remarkably well.
A motorcycle patrolman was rushed to the hospital with an inflamed
appendix. The doctors operated and advised him that all was well. However, the
patrolman kept feeling something pulling on the hairs in his crotch.
Worried that it
might be a second surgery the doctors hadn't told him about, he finally got
enough energy to pull his hospital gown up enough so he could look at what was
making him so uncomfortable. Taped firmly across his pubic hair were three wide
strips of adhesive tape, the kind that doesn't come off easily.
Written in large
black letters was the sentence. "Get well soon..... from the nurse in the
jeep you pulled over last week."
first day of school, the children brought gifts for their teacher.
son brought the teacher a bouquet of flowers.
owner's daughter gave the teacher a pretty box of candy.
Then the liquor-store
owner's son brought up a big, heavy box.
The teacher lifted
it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit.
She touched a
drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it.
"Is it wine?"
the boy replied. She tasted another drop and asked, "Champagne?.
said the little boy..."It's a puppy!"
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. Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.