Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Monday, October 30, 2006: Back
from Israel. Simple impressions:
Israel is tiny. 35 miles at its widest. Around 300 miles long.
+ Israel has few people. Six million versus Iran's 70 million.
+ Israel is an amazing economic success story. You can't fail to be impressed.
It's leapt from agriculture to technology, skipping the steps in between. Microsoft,
Intel, Motorola and a zillion others now have R&D operations there.
+ Israel has more companies on Nasdaq than every other country outside the U.S.
Warren Buffet just paid $4 billion for 80% of Iscar Metalworking Cos., a metal-cutting
tools company owned by the Wertheimer family. Israel is very proud of Buffet's
endorsement of its economy.
+ Israel is safe to visit. There is extensive security. Suicide bombings have
+ There are no solutions to peace in Middle East. All Arab countries
(exception Iraq) are dictatorships who use Israel and the Palestinians to deflect
criticism from their internal lack of freedom and their low living standards.
+ There are two main branches of Islam -- Shiite and Sunni. They don't like
each other. When America toppled Saddam Hussein (who had Sunnis running Iraq),
it opened the way for Shiites (who outnumber the Sunnis) to gain. Iran is Shiite.
It took the hint.
+ There will be more wars. Everyone expects another war with a newly
re-armed Hizbollah. Israeli soldiers I spoke with told me Hizbollah's arms came
from Iran, Syria and Russia. Some were old. Some were brand-new. Hizbollah is
a "real" army, many told me. It's not a group of terrorist thugs.
It's trained and organized.
+ Israel bungled this recent Hizbollah war. It underestimated Hizbollah's strength.
It left its soldiers under-provisioned because of its fear that its helicopters
would be hit by Hizbollah missiles. And it lost the PR war by allegedly overreacting.
+ The biggest problem is Iran's nuke -- if it gets one. Israeli hawks
say Iran cannot be trusted not to use it. Iran funds terrorism in the
region, i.e. Hizbollah and Hamas. Israel cannot afford to take the first hit.
Two nukes would wipe out most of Israel. Iran says it's not building a nuke.
But it is enriching uranium, which is step one to the bomb. No one knows
how long or where.
+ Some people think America is preparing to invade Iran. Phase I would be heavy
bombing. Phase II would be "boots on the ground." Phase III could
be American use of tactical nuclear bombs to protect our troops. Tempering this
awful scenario is the fact that Iran could retaliate strongly -- by bombing
oil facilities all over the region and blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through
which much of the world's oil flows. And effectively bring everyone into the
I stole this map from the Economist. It shows where we have bases and
fleets. Some of these countries are huge.
Australian mining stocks are doing well: Kagara Zinc (KZL), Zinifex
Limited (ZFX) and Minara Resources Limited (MRE). My favorite remains Kagara.
Latest quarterly report shows growing metal production levels and recoveries,
more finds found, exploration budget increased. All the good things you expect
of a successful mining company. For the report, click
+ Sovereign Bank. Its strong north east presence are most appealing.
+ 3Com (Coms). Extensive networking skills should appeal. Needs new management
and a strong hand.
+ Most hotels and airports
will sell you broadband access by wireless or wired. It's better wired. If it
doesn't work, don't waste your time asking hotel and airport people. They typically
haven't a clue.
+ If you do get broadband access, Skype is a great way to call back to the U.S.
It's free and sounds better than most dial-up connections. Take along a cheap
mike/headset. Works much better than using your laptop's mike and speakers.
+ Connexion by Boeing is fabulous. You can surf Internet and get your emails
while five miles up. Boeing spent $150 million on the system only to find most
people want to sleep, not surf. Connexion closes end of this year. Sad.
+ When they give you your
userID and password, ask for the SMTP server. That's the server which handles
outgoing mail for email programs like Outlook. You may need it if your emails
+ A noise cancelling set of headphones is a must. It cuts down plane noise.
Music from your iPod comes through crytstal clear. You can sleep. I use Targus
AWM02US. Worth every penny. Cost $40. Click
+ Exercise and sunlight are critical to overcoming jet lag. But sleep still
Favorite junk email justification:
From American Express:
service e-mail was sent to you by American Express. You may receive customer
service e-mails even if you have requested not to receive marketing
e-mails from American Express.
Jewish rowing team
Yeshiva University's new rowing team was the embarrassment of the
entire sports department (which wasn't so hot to begin with!) They not only
finish dead last in every competition, but consistently cross the finish line
many minutes after their opponents. Finally, they send Goldfarb to spy on the
top-rated Harvard Crew team. Lurking in the Cambridge boathouse, he watches
the team practice in the Charles River. For an entire week he observes their
Finally, he returns
to New York, where his teammates gather anxiously to hear his information.
out their secret!" he tells them excitedly.
us! Tell us!" demand his teammates, impatiently.
eight guys rowing," he pronounces, authoritatively."And only ONE guy
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
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