Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Friday, May 11: If
I were a betting man, I'd say "That's it for now until October. Time to
loosen up. Time to do some hedging." Yesterday stockmarkets tumbled pretty
badly -- the worst loss in two months -- 1.11% on the Dow, 1.66% on Nasdaq and
1.40% on the S&P 500.
ostensible reason for yesterday's drop was dismal economic reports -- a plunge
in retail sales and
a widening in the trade deficit (what Americans export and import)
in March to its highest level in six months.
If you wanted
to be mean, you could also add in a Wall Street Journal report this
morning which said (I don't make this stuff up),
The worst has
passed in the economic slowdown, economists said in the latest WSJ.com forecasting
survey. By a more than 5-to-1 margin, the economists said they believe the
first quarter's 1.3% growth -- the weakest in four years -- marked the low
point in the slowdown that gripped the economy much of last year. However,
they expect growth to stay below 3% into early 2008, leaving 2007 on track
to have the slowest economic growth since 2002. But growth in 2007 is still
on track to be the weakest since 2002.
Of course, no
one can predict. So you pick your predictions based on your predilections. Pick
them (and their justifications) based on what you personally feel. If
you feel the sky is falling, you can always read Fred Hickey, who writes "The
High-Tech Strategist" newsletter. Excerpts from his May newsletter:
pattern in history has been that when housing turns down, consumer spending
follows -- several months later. But this housing downturn is different --
we're coming off the biggest housing bubble ever in this country. The housing
industry is collapsing and it hasn't hit bottom yet. ...
The semiconductor equipment industry's customers are struggling. The (Microsoft)
Vista Stall has led to a buildup of PC component parts. Disk drive leader
Seagate Technology blamed "PC weakness in the U.S. consumer PC market
and lighter than expected demand from the Asia-Pacific region" for its
disappointing Q1 report. Worse yet, Seagate didn't see any improvement coming
in the near future. ...
I am on high
crash alert. ... I am more certain than ever that we are sitting on a
ticking time bomb. I know it's going to blow -- I just don't know when. ...
My put positions
(i.e. Hickey's) currently account for approximately 3% of my total portfolio.
... Here are my current tech-related put option positions. (Note: Hickey typically
buys LEAPs -- long-term put options.): SanDisk, Texas Instruments, KLA-Tencor,
Nvidia, Research in Motion, Apple Computer, Amazon, Dell, Applied Materials,
Novellus, NetLogic Microsystems, Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, CDW Corp.,
Palm, National Semiconductor, On Semiconductor, Google, Savvis, Intersil,
FS, Avnet and Arrow Electronics. ...
I continue to
hold financial-related put options on broker Bear Stearns, Colonial Bancgroup
and MGI Investment Corp.
Personally I wouldn't
go near buying put options on Apple (thank you Harry for the nice recommendation)
and Google. Both companies are doing spectacularly. But some of Hickey's others
My points (i.e.
Harry's points) remain:
1. You can't predict.
2. Most years
the period May through October in the stockmarket sucks. (Most years, not
3. You can
make a case for things looking pretty awful. You can make a case for the stockmarket
being out of whack with the economy.
4. It doesn't hurt to do a little hedging. No one said you had to be 100% long.
if you can figure the difference:
The first is my old logo. The second is my new logo. It follows my present thinking
-- no taxable entities. "Flatiron Publishing" is what I'm publishing
the dictionary under, not Flatiron Publishing Inc. It's extraordinarily
easy to open entities -- Incs. Corporations, etc. -- but it's extraordinarily
hard to close them down. There's always a taxing authority somewhere
that insists on sending you bills for something. And while the bills may be
small, stopping them is a whole other thing, involving months of letters, phone
calls, begging, cajoling and arguing.
Taxes is not what
this story is about. It started because I read a New York Times article
Perfect, One Pixel at a Time. It talked about services on the Internet
which will touch up your photographs. I emailed one of the services BestPhotoRepair.com
my old logo, asking "Could they remove the Inc." 15 minutes
later my new, improved logo came back "No charge." I was impressed.
I called Kevin
Winkler of BestPhotoRepair (904.398.5967), thanked him and asked, "What
photo fixups do you do commonly do?" Most of the work, he said, was fixing
up old or damaged photos. Here are some before and after examples:
He also does colorizations, i.e. black and white to color.
"How has business been?" I asked.
"It's booming." He replied.
He replied with
a sigh, "Divorce. I remove people from family photos."
Good news, his
price for removing offending spouses is much cheaper than divorce -- from $9.99
In case you're
wondering, what my pompous-sounding slogan "Laborem Bonus Facimus"
means? "We do good work." Neat? Please don't steal it.
If you need a Latin slogan for your business, let me know, I have a Latin scholar
who likes to feel wanted.
design in real estate: Two-story outhouse.
This is SO stupid
The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a
surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive,
Mr. Smith kissed his wife good-bye and said, "Well, I'm off now; the man
should be here soon."
Half an hour later,
just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell,
hoping to make a sale.
Ma'am", he said, "I've come to...''
Oh, no need to
explain," Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you."
really?" said the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies
are my specialty?"
what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat"
After a moment
she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"
to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple
on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread
living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!"
none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different
positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with
a lot!" gasped Mrs. Smith.
my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be in and out in five
minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that."
know it," said Mrs. Smith quietly.
opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This
was done on the top of a bus," he said.
"Oh my God!"
Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.
twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so
difficult to work with."
difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith.
afraid so I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People
were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look."
five deep?" said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.
the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother
was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when
darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began
nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in."
Mrs. Smith leaned
forward. "Do you mean they actually chewed on your, uh ..equipment?"
Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to
work right away."
Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held
in the hand very long."
Mrs. Smith fainted.........
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 .
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