Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Monday, November 13, 2006: The
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) went public in 2002. Since then....
exchanges have gone public this year: The Chicago Board of Trade, the International
Securities Exchange (ISE), and recently the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
In mid-October, the Chicago Board of Trade merged with the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange (CME), creating what it called a "$25 billion premier global derivatives
The ISE trades
stock options. The ICE trades energy contracts. The Merc features Eurodollar
futures. Each has been a success story. The Merc went public at $35 a share
and is now trading at $495. The ISE, is up nearly double since a debut in March
of this year. ICE opened at $26 a share and climbed to $40 on its opening day.
These exchanges are on a tear for four reasons:
1. Exchanges are run very differently once they de-mutualized. The NYSE has
been on a tear, merging and acquiring everybody and their uncle, most recently
Euronext and before that Archipelago, and the Pacific Exchange. It just announced
it's firing 500 people. Imagine doing that in the old days of member-run old
2. The exchanges have a privileged regulatory position, giving them serious
pricing power in their markets.
3. These exchange help satisfy the insatiable need for more gambling arenas
for the new gamblers, also called hedge funds.
4. No one (well, hardly anyone) is selling their shares. Everyone is holding
them for their grandchildren. They're the perfect keeper stock.
They are all,
of course, ridiculously expensive. Compare the low with the high to see how
these are moving nicely.
Exchanges Take Off
Board of Trade (merged with CME)
Vision's conference call is tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM EST: InSite
has FDA approval, but needs a big pharma marketing partner. It promised it would
have one in July. But it didn't. And
its stock has slipped. We'll hear the whole story in a conference call with
CEO Kumar Chandrasekaran -- (877) 407-0778 or (201) 689-8565, account number
286 and conference ID 219889. A telephone replay will be available for 48 hours
following by dialing (877) 660-6853 or (201) 612-7415, account number 286 and
conference ID 219889.
Ziopharm has three promising drugs for cancer treatment:
Note I said treatment, not cure. The thinking is to make cancer manageable,
like diabetes. People who have diabetes can live with it if they take their
medication and watch the way they live. Ditto for cancer -- the goal is longer,
better life (fewer side affects from the drug), with especial emphasis on easier
oral taking of your medicine -- versus today's schlepp-to-clinic, wait, wait,
wait, get injection, go home, waste time.
Ziopharm has several things going for it:
1. Three promising drugs. All are just beginning their lengthy FDA approval-seeking
2. A very low market capitalization -- $78 million. Note million, not billion.
That means if one of these drugs hits, the stock can move nicely.
3. A motivated, talented management team. Their motivation is twofold -- good
medicine, good investor relations.
Ziopharm is holding an "Analysts Day" this Friday morning at New York's
Yale Club. That exposure typically helps. One Wall Street firm -- Griffin Securities
-- is already out with a "buy," with a 12-month price target of $18
(it's now $5.10). Griffin's recommendation was made before Ziopharm acquired its
To me, Ziopharm
is a five-year lock-up. A small investment today will either be worth millions
in five years, or the company will be broke. The odds are tilting towards the
you install Microsoft Vista on your present PC? The simple answer
is NO. You should wait until you buy a PC (desktop or laptop) that's got it
installed. That way you'll get hardware drivers that were written for, tested
and, hopefully, work with Vista. The computer press is universally agreed that
there's no "gotta-have-it" feature in Vista. A lot of the new features
are already handled by third-party software or stuff that Microsoft itself puts
out covertly called PowerToys for Windows XP. My favorite PowerToys is an Alt-Tab
replacement called Taskswitch.exe. I use it every day. Download it from here.
Vista's BIG advance
is in graphics and movie-making. If you're into heavy graphics and movie-making,
you're far better off with an Apple.
your printer starts jamming: When it starts
bending sheets, picking up multiple sheets and jamming sheets in the feeder
mechanism, it's time for a visit to www.
fixyourownprinter.com. There you'll buy a "printer repair kit" for your
printer. What you'll get in the mail in a few days is something called a separations
pad. Every printer has this little
thing. Its job is to stop the printer picking up more than one sheet of paper
at a a time.
I bought a "kit."
It took me three minutes to install it. Bingo my problem went away. I thought
I needed to clean the rollers where the paper was jamming. I thought I needed
to use different paper. Wrong! The rollers will last for years. But the separations
pad won't. It wears out. Trust me, you need a new one every few years. Replacing
it yourself is a lot easier than schlepping your heavy machine to some distant
repair show, waiting a week and then schlepping it home again. The printer repair
kit for my printer cost $20. It was worth ten times that in aggravation avoided.
do I do with short-term money? My preference
today is to hold a little more cash. I live in New York City, where taxes give
extortion a whole new meaning. My preferred vehicle
to date has been triple tax-free municipal floaters. They're paying
today around 3.25% -- which is ironically what my checking account is paying
pre-tax. My latest bank (Sovereign) is paying 5.20% on a one-week CD.
That means I can get my money out each Thursday. That's a very nice rate. I
bet your bank has something similar.
reality TV show
CBS has announced it is working on a new reality series called "Jewish
Here's the premise:
16 Jews are put in a two-bedroom co-op on the Upper West Side of New York. Each
week they vote out one member, until there is a final survivor who gets $10
million (but placed into a trust that does not vest until age 59).
1. No cleaning
2. No use of ATMs
or credit cards.
3. No food from
take-out or delivery which specifically includes Chinese food.
4. All purchases
must be at full retail prices.
5. Women may not
call their mother, men may not call their office.
6. Outside trips
must be by foot, bus or subway. No limos, Town Cars or cabs.
7. All workouts
and exercise must be done in their apartment with no workout machines.
8. Whole Foods
is off limits.
9. No NY Times
or Wall Street Journal is allowed for reading. Only the NY Post and NY Daily
News are acceptable.
10. Only one phone
line for all 16 members. No call can last more than three minutes. No cell phones.
problems must be resolved by the members, without help from the super or any
12. All therapy
sessions must be suspended.
13. No calls to
14. No Valium,
So far, there
have been NO applicants.
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
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