Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Wednesday, March 7, 2007: Biotechs
and oil stocks? Areas to invest? Two articles grabbed my attention last night:
Jim Cramer on "Crash Insurance." He likes biotechs. He writes:
companies are all about the future, with potential blockbusters and approvals
in front of them, not behind them, and limited competition for most of their
current offerings. These companies have pipelineswhat drugs really trade
onand trials that could propel them much, much higher than their current
levels. Even if an old-line company merges or gets a bidthe only real
hope for appreciationit couldnt produce the kind of upside that
the biotechs give you. Their research bent and their ability to focus on highly
specialized, low-profile illnesses keep them out of the crosshairs of the
So whats got the most upside? Ive got four companies that could
have years and years and years of great growth that a Pfizer or a Lilly could
only dream of (Genentech, Celgene, Gilead, and Genzyme), a wild-card stock
that could get a bid within the next year because of a recent successful cancer
trial (Onyx Pharmaceuticals), and two companies (Altus and Exelixis) that
are speculation plays. With their promising drugs still in FDA trials, they
could either go boom or bust.
To read his piece,
.My own preference
is for smaller biotechs, including Chelsea Therapeutics, Cougar Biotechnology,
Hana Biosciences, Innovive, Novadel, Vioquest, Ziopharm and even the disaster
of the bunch -- Point Therapeutics, which is cheap (low market cap), has great
drug potential, but horrible management. I figure these are five year investments
-- the time it takes to clear the FDA -- and that one or two will make it big.
2. The New
York Times on "Oil Innovations Pump New Life into Old Wells."
The article basically says the peak oil theory is dead. There is more oil than
we ever imagined and new technology is bringing it to the surface. Good news
for the oil companies. The article begins:
Calif. The Kern River oil field, discovered in 1899, was revived when
Chevron engineers here started injecting high-pressured steam to pump out
more oil. The field, whose production had slumped to 10,000 barrels a day
in the 1960s, now has a daily output of 85,000 barrels.
Chevron has applied the same technology to the giant Duri oil field, discovered
in 1941, boosting production there to more than 200,000 barrels a day, up
from 65,000 barrels in the mid-1980s.
And in Texas,
Exxon Mobil expects to double the amount of oil it extracts from its Means
field, which dates back to the 1930s. Exxon, like Chevron, will use three-dimensional
imaging of the underground field and the injection of a gas in this
case, carbon dioxide to flush out the oil.
Within the last
decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from
old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical
for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of
oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the worlds reserves
are drying out have given way to predictions that more oil can be found than
You can read the
entire New York Times piece, click
Vista is so seductive. But Apple may benefit. My
first serious recommendations:
1. DO NOT UPGRADE to Vista.
2. Do NOT
buy a PC running Vista.
Vista will need
many patches and fixes before it becomes (if ever it becomes) a reliable operating
system. For now, it is a work in progress. If you choose to use it, you will
only drive yourself nuts and waste hours and hours of your precious time.
There's an old
saying in the computer business: "If it works, don't mess with it."
Stick with Windows XP, or move to a Mac which many of my friends are doing.
I suspect when the word gets out how horrible Vista really is, there will be
a stampede to Macs.
Apple's stock is high, but could go higher.
Toshiba sent me a Vista disk for my laptop. To run it, I had to upgrade my laptop's
BIOS (a pain) and reinstall Vista a couple of times. By the time it took, I
1. All the buttons had been moved, which meant I had to spend eons looking for
them in their new places. For example, "Display" in control panel
no longer exists. There's absolutely no logic (or benefit) to moving all the
controls from their familiar XP places to new, impossible-to-find places. This,
alone, will cause every new Vista user to tear his/her out.
2. Vista has no
compelling new features. I have yet to find one thing I can't do with XP.
3. Vista is unreliable. It locked up on me several times last night, including
when it was running the Economist Screensaver. And when I rebooted, it had lost
some of its settings. This morning I can't find the buttons necessary to restore
the settings. A pain.
4. Vista is annoying.
Every time you want to do something, it brings up a box asking your permission.
You hit Yes and off you go. But it's so annoying. It also keeps popping up boxes
telling me I'm not protected or am running illegal software. More annoyances.
5. Half your old
software, most of your old printers, scanners and such like won't work with
Vista. They'll need new drivers. Most haven't been written yet. Some may never
be written, especially for your older equipment..
Meantime the Department
of Transportation has issued a moratorium on its 60,000 users upgrading to Vista,
Office 2007 and Internet Explorer 7. Here's a story:
March 05, 2007
(Computerworld) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation has quietly put the
kibosh on Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), banning
upgrades to those Microsoft Corp. products -- at least for now.
CIO of the DOT's Maritime Administration (MARAD), said a July move of the
agency's Washington headquarters is to blame for the reluctance to deploy
Microsoft's new software. "It has less to do with technical concerns
about Microsoft and more to do with the fact that with our July move, our
plates are totally full and we can't take another thing on right now,"
she said in an interview today after a speech at the Computerworld Premier
100 IT Leaders conference in Palm Desert, Calif.
MARAD has already
begun testing Vista and IE 7, according to Seymour. That testing, however,
may take time because MARAD relies extensively on old, custom applications
that will require long evaluation on Vista. She has not yet set an upgrade
timetable, but if or when she does, Seymour said, she can add Vista and Office
without spending additional money; MARAD has a Software Assurance contract
Even if her
department doesn't widely deploy Vista and Office 2007 until early 2009, "we
would be middle of the pack among private corporations and somewhat ahead
of most government agencies," Seymour claimed.
In late January,
Daniel Mintz, the DOT's CIO, issued an internal memo slapping a moratorium
on upgrading desktops and laptops to Vista, the Office 2007 business suite
and IE7, the revamped browser Microsoft released last October. "This
establishes an indefinite moratorium until further notice on desktop/laptop
computer software upgrades to Microsoft Vista, Office 2007 and Internet Explorer
version 7," the DOT memo read. "Microsoft Vista, Office 2007 and
Internet Explorer may be acquired for testing purposes only."
The memo, which
the DOT posted publicly on Jan. 22 (download PDF),
went on to say that a follow-up in six months would lay out the agency's 2008
migration road map, leaving the door open to a policy change then. A similar
ban will be put into place separately by the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA), which is part of the DOT, the memo also said.
Mintz took the
Microsoft software to the woodshed, figuratively speaking. "Based
on our initial analysis, there appears to be no compelling technical or business
case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products. Furthermore,
there appears to be specific reasons not to upgrade," the memo read.
Among the don't-bother reasons spelled out: the cost of upgrading, backward
compatibility with earlier editions of Office and the planned move to new
this reminds me of Vista:
Each Friday night after work, Bubba would fire up his outdoor grill
and cook a venison steak. But, all of Bubba's neighbors were Catholic....And
since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday.
aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic
faithful that they finally talked to their priest.
The Priest came
to visit Bubba, and suggested that he become a Catholic. After several classes
and much study, Bubba attended Mass.....and as the priest sprinkled holy water
over him, he said, "You were born a Baptist, and raised a Baptist, but
now you are a Catholic."
were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of
grilled venison filled the neighborhood.
The Priest was
called immediately by the neighbors, and, as he rushed into Bubba's yard, clutching
a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement.
There stood Bubba,
clutching a small bottle of holy water which he carefully sprinkled over the
grilling meat and chanted: "You wuz born a deer, you wuz raised a deer,
but now you is a catfish."
short joke of 2006
A 3-year-old boy examined his testicles while taking a bath.
he asked, "Are these my brains?"
She replied, "Not
yet, my son. Not yet."
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.