Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
AM EST Thursday, October 12, 2006: Great
news. Bank of America is offering free stock trades to anyone who has $25,000
in a checking, savings or money market account at the bank. Tough sledding for
the online brokers yesterday. TD Ameritrade fell 12%, E-Trade slid 9%, and Schwab
Bank of America
hopes the free trades will lure customers to the bank and its other services,
says spokesman John Yiannacopoulos. "Our clients tell us they prefer to
have their accounts in one place," he says. (And boy, is he right!)
Zecco.com is offering free trades to anyone with a $2,500 account. Zecco CEO
Jeroen Veth, says typically brokers pay just $2 to put a trade through.
He says that cost is easily made up in other ways, such as collecting interest
on cash in customer accounts or providing fee services, such as options trading.
This morning my
broker called me in a panic. Nice to see him panicking. Not a profession I'd
want to be in any longer. What should he be doing, he asked?
+ Tying his clients'
needs together -- from banking, to lending, to brokerage, to money management,
+ Actively finding investment alternatives -- in other words doing a better
job searching for the perfect investment than I do.
+ Finding decent private equity funds from the likes of Citigroup and Goldman
+ Finding decent hedge funds, like Modern Capital.
+ Finding decent mutual funds, like Vanguard and others.
+ Finding decent money managers, like Snow Capital.
+ Finding real estate opportunities, like Broadway Partners and Scripps Investments
+ Keeping track of all the "finds" and reporting on those finds regularly
to their clients.
In other words,
it's time the brokerage industry stopped peddling the stock du jour and morphed
into serious long-term money management. Brokers need to pump out regular useful
material to their clients, reporting on their "finds." They should
stop pumping out obtuse stupid crap from their in-house economist predicting
the next recession, the next interest rate move, or next week's oil price, something
else that's unpredictable.
of my Vanguard funds shine. My
+ Vanguard International Value Fund (VLTRIX), up 13.1%
+Vanguard Mid-CAp Index Fund Admiral Shares (VIMAX), up 12.8%.
+Total International Stock Index (VGTSX), up 9%.
Two other Vanguard funds I own are doing poorly:
+ Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX), up 3%
+ Pacific Stock Index Admirals shares, flat.
Australian mining shares continue to climb, especially Kagara Zinc
(KZL) and Minara Resources (MRE)
buy HP scanners and printers.
Their hardware is good. But their software
is just plain unreliable and awful -- especially when you're trying to install
your HP device on a new PC.
why I have always loved Monsanto:
I scanned this picture from today's Wall Street Journal. Last
year, reports the Journal, Mr. Menara decided he'd had enough: He planted 17
acres of transgenic corn and much more this year. "It's a business,"
says Mr. Menara, whose bottom line approach to genetically modified seeds is
not shared by many of his neighbors, who don't use them. The Monsanto-patented
corn saved him about $38 an acre in pesticide bills last year, he says.
The Perfect Job
A guy walks into the local welfare office, marches straight up to the counter
and says, "Hi... You know, I just HATE drawing welfare. I'd really
rather have a job."
The social worker
behind the counter says, "Your timing is excellent. We just got a job opening
from a very wealthy old man who wants a chauffeur and bodyguard for his beautiful
nymphomaniac daughter. You'll have to drive around in his Mercedes S600, but
he'll supply all of your clothes. Because of the long hours, meals will be provided.
You'll be expected to escort her on her overseas holiday trips. You will have
to satisfy all her sexual urges. You'll be provided a two-bedroom apartment
above the garage. The starting salary is $200,000 a year."
The guy, wide-eyed,
says, "You're kidding me!"
The social worker
says, "Yeah, well... You started it."
Montana Half Wit
A man owned a small ranch in Montana. The Montana Wage & Hour Dept, claimed
he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview
"I need a
list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.
replied the rancher, "There's my ranch hand who's been with me for 3 years.
I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18
months, and I pay her $500 per week plus free room and board.
Then there's the
half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work
around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board and I
buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night."
guy I want to talk to, the half-wit," says the agent.
be me," replied the rancher.
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
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