Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
9:00 AM EST,
Friday, November 21, 2008: The U.S. stockmarket is down 50% from
its peak last year. There are various theories on when markets hit bottom. The
word Wall Street uses is "capitulation." That's when everybody and
their uncle calls their broker and says, "Oh God, I can't take this any
longer. Get me out. Sell everything I own."
Brokers told me
that they heard this yesterday.
is what's happening in treasuries. They're perceived as the ONLY safe
haven. Everyone and their uncle are pilling into them. Prices are up. Yields
Today may be a
different story. I'm not playing the timing game, yet. But I am saying, if your
shorts go 5% against you, cover. Don't be greedy. You've made enough money in
recent days. Thank you. Harry.
can be dumb, and then you can be really dumb. The three big U.S.
auto CEOs -- - Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli
of Chrysler -- flew to Washington in their company's private jets. Wagoner of
GM flew in GM's $36 million jet. The roundtrip cost of the Detroit-Washington
trip was at least $20,000. All three execs were in Washington begging for a
$25 billion taxpayer bailout. There are 24 daily nonstop flights from Detroit
to the Washington area. Economy roundtrip is under $300.
You can watch
ABC News' report on the planes here.
GM's Wagoner was paid $16 million last year. Ford's Mulally was paid $28 million
Three seriously dumb auto CEOs. From left Richard Wagoner of General Motors,
Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Alan Mulally of Ford.
Congress is baulking
at giving the three any money. Guess why? No, not because of the private jets.
But because not one of these handsomely paid executives has presented a plan
detailing what they will do with any money Congress might give them. These guys
are dumber than a bag of hammers.
maintenance: Two fixes make a big difference:
1. Inflating the tires on my bicycle. My bike runs faster and pedals easier
with more air. And since I use my bike every day, that's critical.
2. Tightening the screws on my eyeglasses. I have no idea how they loosen up.
But they do. Then a lens falls out and I can only half see. Which is not the
same as the glass being half full.
world by BlackBerry Storm. No. The reason you're seeing so much publicity
on the newest BlackBerry phone is that Verizon offered two-month loaners to
reporters if they'd turn up at a mid-town Manhattan hotel and listen to a 15-minute
pitch on the phone. I did. My wife is looking for a phone that does email. Right
now she only has a phone, not a smartphone. I figured she'd be a good tester.
She's still testing.
She's finding the choice of new smartphone to be daunting. And she's right.
When Apple introduced the iPhone, it changed the world of smartphones forever.
Before the iPhone BackBerry was the smartphone to get. Now it's complicated.
Before you choose a new smartphone (that's what these things are called) you
need to ask yourself what can I comfortably type on?
All the BlackBerries
before the Storm had keyboards which users could thumb fast on. But the tradeoff
was a small screen. Apple's iPhone introduced tapping on a virtual keyboard
-- one that pops up when you need it. But for the rest of the time, you had
a big screen to view photos, watch movies, play games on or check the weather
on. Typing on an iPhone is much slower than typing on a BlackBerry keyboard.
If you do a lot of emails you should get an old BlackBerry, like the 8830. If
you think you can handle tapping on glass on a virtual keyboard, then you need
to check out each of three phones that let you do this:
From left, BlackBerry Storm, Google G1 and iPhone 3G. The G1 is the only
one that actually has a physical keyboard also. You slide the phone apart.
You next criterion
is Can you use it without reading the instruction book? The iPhone is the easiest
to use. I haven't figured the Storm out yet. Next crtierion, do you like the
look and feel of the phone? The Storm is chunkier and heavier than the svelte
iPhone. And the final criterion is how easy is it to customize it to do the
things you want it to do. Apple has something called the Apps Store. There are
literally thousands of applications you can get for free or a handful of dollars
that will make your life a lot easier -- from little weather apps, to stock
apps, to financial news from Bloomberg, etc. Verizon and Research in Motion
(the maker of the Storm) don't have an equivalent store. (I asked the RIM employee
why not? He said RIM was "working on it.")
Despite its touchscreen
keyboard, the Storm is a real BlackBerry which means it integrates best with
corporate email. It also has something it calls visual voice mail. You're emailed
a list of your voice messages. You pick which ones you want to hear -- in the
order you want to hear them. Visual voice mail is brilliant. It copied this
from the iPhone which also has an app you can get called "You drive, I
dial." Tell it to make the calls you want to make. It will make them one
after another, while you drive. Neat.
A camera. How you make images bigger and smaller. There are a dozens of criteria
-- Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal had a long piece. Click
Frankly, I don't
think I can make a recommendation for you. You need to play with all of them.
The best news is that phones and data plans are getting cheaper. Now everyone
can receive emails 24/7 wherever they are -- including news on the Nigerian
lottery you just won. And we all now expect instant responses to our most minor
most recent New Yorker cartoon:
stupid pirate joke. Your kids at least will like it.
A man with a pegleg, hook hand and an eyepatch is on TV.
Interviewer: How did you get that pegleg?
I got me leg shot off during the first world war.
did you get that hook?
Pirate: I got
me hand cut off by a big knife.
about your eyepatch?
Pirate: It was
a rainy afternoon and I looked up into the sky and a bird crapped in me eye.
that put your eye out?
Pirate: No, it
was the day after I got me hook.
weekend: Be nice to your spouse and your kids.
Ask them how they're doing. Listen to them. Flatter them. Take them to the movies.
Three worth seeing: Body
of Lies, The
Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Slumbdog
Millionaire. Do not see the latest James Bond movie, Quantum
of Solace. It gives boredom (and senseless violence) a whole new meaning.
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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school
tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.