Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM EST, Wednesday, August 20, 2009: My picks -- AAPL, GOOG, EWA (Australia),
EWZ (Brazil) and STEC -- continue to rise, despite the blip on Monday. Long-term,
we need to look more to China for future investment opportunities. My friends
at Integre Advisors write:
China's per capita
GDP has reached $3,000, a level we think is critical for expanding consumption.
China could see personal consumption expenditures grow several times faster
than GDP. The growth in passenger car registrations illustrates this point.
In 2001 Chinese consumers registered 985,000 passenger cars. By 2008, this number
had grown to an estimated 6.76 million units -- still quite modest when compared
to the population.
One of their favorite
stocks is Tencent Holdings. Look at Tencent this year:
got suckered and I apologize. I ran a letter on Canadian Health Care
that was almost completely bogus. I caught the mistake before noon, so many
of you didn't see the Canadian nonsense. For those of you who did, the piece
was at least two years old. Snopes checked it out against the facts of Canadian
health care and ran their take. Click here.
The moral of Harry's
screwup is simple: You can't believe anything anyone emails you or what you
read on the Internet. No one checks anything. They post, publish and send what
suits them politically. If you don't like Obama-care (whatever it is) you're
likely to forward what appeals (like yesterday's Canadian letter) -- despite
it being loaded with things that are simply untrue.
I feel stupid.
As to real health
care reform, the American public is right to be seriously concerned about what
the incompetents in Washington will create in haste. A wise man once said, "Washington
is eight square miles surrounded by reality." My friend Dan Good emailed
me his sensible ideas:
It is not complex.
Cut through all the Obama socialism BS and you basically have the best health
care system in the world. Problems yes, but there are solutions better than
tearing our health care system apart. For example:
1. There are
20 million US citizens who can't afford health care. Many are eligible for
state health care programs right now but don't sign up. They are forced to
go to emergency rooms which is very high cost and you and I end up paying
for it in higher insurance premiums and hospital costs. Let's make them sign
up or give them a voucher to buy insurance on the private market. They will
have the same health care as you and me.
2. For individuals
who are not covered by corporate plans, let's make their premiums tax deductible
just as those premiums for corporations.
3. Require young
people who can afford insurance ( some 15 million) but think they are immortal
and don't need it to buy insurance.
4. Require proof
of legal immigration status to be eligible for any of the above.
5. Offer health
care buying groups to take advantage of mass purchasing power to negotiate
better deals with insurance companies.
6. Require insurance
companies to offer a national, not only state plan. Get rid of all the laws
forcing state exclusivity. This will create more competition among insurance
companies and lower premiums.
7. Create high
risk (preexisting conditions) pools for those people to buy insurance.
Do not, I repeat,
do not permit the government to destroy our health care system. The government
is comprised of low level and undereducated bureaucrats. 300 million people
enjoy our system. We should not change it for 20 million who can't afford
it. It will dumb down the quality and you and I will suffer.
It is not complicated.
of excessive CAT scans. CAT scans have about
1,000 more radiation exposure as a chest X-ray. Think twice about agreeing to
another CAT scan you probably don't need.
are we still doing in Iraq? Despite our troops and despite the Iraqi
troops, no one seems to be able to keep the place safe. Yesterday, 75 people
were killed and more than 300 were wounded in a series of explosions in downtown
Yesterday in Baghdad.
ultra-favorite "What are we still doing in Iraq?" story.
How the US
sent $12 billion in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish
Special flights brought in tonnes of banknotes which disappeared into the
David Pallister, The Guardian, Thursday 8 February 2007
An armed guard poses beside pallets of $100 bills in Baghdad. Almost $12
billion in cash was spent by the US-led authority
The US flew
nearly $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed
the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being
The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the
Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.
In the year
after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363
tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries
and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or
twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days
before the handover.
Details of the
shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House
committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction.
Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash
had been handled was mind-boggling. "The numbers are so large that it
doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send
363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?"
details the casual manner in which the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority
disbursed the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, surplus funds from the
UN oil-for-food programme and seized Iraqi assets.
official described an environment awash in $100 bills," the memorandum
says. "One contractor received a $2 million payment in a duffel bag stuffed
with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency. Auditors discovered that the key
to a vault was kept in an unsecured backpack.
found that $774,300 in cash had been stolen from one division's vault. Cash
payments were made from the back of a pickup truck, and cash was stored in
unguarded sacks in Iraqi ministry offices. One official was given $6.75 million
in cash, and was ordered to spend it in one week before the interim Iraqi
government took control of Iraqi funds."
from a May 2004 CPA meeting reveal "a single disbursement of $500 million
in security funding labelled merely 'TBD', meaning 'to be determined'."
concludes: "Many of the funds appear to have been lost to corruption
and waste ... thousands of 'ghost employees' were receiving pay cheques from
Iraqi ministries under the CPA's control. Some of the funds could have enriched
both criminals and insurgents fighting the United States."
To read the entire
story, click here.
success (or failure) is in your hands. Items
Neither 3M nor its distributor American Sun Control has responded to my many
left messages and emails about my buying 3M window film. It's been nearly two
weeks. I want to buy. They apparently don't want to sell. What is so hard about
calling a potential customer?
MyParkingSign.com sold me a pole and two signs for $120. Each sign had two holes
to attach via screws to the pole. They sent me only two screws, nuts, washers,
etc.. I called and asked for the two missing screws. After several minutes of
waiting, they told me to "go to my local hardware store." I said no.
They countered with $6.71 for two screws, nuts, washers, etc. . I said no. Finally
a supervisor sent them for free. It turns out the screws come with the pole,
not the signs. Go figure.
Because we were elite Hertz Number One Club members, Hertz offered us the car
for $984. Priceline had the same Hertz car for just under $500. Our travel agent
got the same car from Hertz for $434.
+ Citibank changed
my 100-year old Visa card number without asking and sent me new cards. I have
the card registered with every vendor from telephone companies to tennis gear
distributors. I asked Citibank to let me keep my old card. No. I asked them
for help notifying all my vendors. No.
is life so complicated?
hot and humid in the city.
Susan says, "Harry, go research movies. Find an air-conditioned movie."
I do my husbandly
chore. I go on the Internet and find a movie called The Ugly Truth.,
I read the reviews. This one caught my eye:
I considered walking out of the theatre about 30 minutes in but since we don't
get out much, my wife and I stayed. The remainder wasn't any better. I signed
up on Fandango just now so I could inject some reality into this Fan Meter.
"Go" is not at all accurate.
phone systems are expensive and not good. From
I thought you might be interested to know that we just received our annual
maintenance quote (or service contract) for our Cisco VoIP phone system..
The cost, not including Smartnet, is $162,000.00. If we want to have 24x7
network monitoring included, then the cost would jump to $218,480.00 per year.
Keep in mind that we only have a total of 1,500 Cisco IP phones on this contract.
I pay a total of $120,000.00 a year for about 8,000 NEC phones and that price
This is an incredible amount of money when compared to others such as NEC
or Avaya. I can certainly see the value of Cisco and the ROI they preach.
How does anyone afford this? And yet they continue to sell -- mainly on fear
that the others will go out of business.
ongoing obsession with Lyme Disease. A friend
has had it for ten years and still suffers major pain. Other friends have had
it several times and don't enjoy it. This disease is spreading as the deer tick
continues its westward march. I'm not a doctor. But several things are evident:
You don't want any part of this disease.
Staying out of the high grass, wearing cover-up clothing and spraying yourself
with deet are your key weapons.
Check yourself, your mate and your dog for ticks and remove them carefully ASAP.
Don't panic. You don't need antibiotics if you got rid of the tick quickly.
You do need antibiotics if you didn't and you've got a bullseye.
The Wall Street
Journal ran a piece yesterday that confirmed what we knew already -- the test
is inaccurate. Get treated if there's a chance you're infected. Here's the piece:
in the Timing For Lyme Disease Test
By Laura Johannes of the the Wall Street Journal.
You got bitten
by a deer ticknow what? A Lyme disease blood test is used to look for
evidence of infection with bacteria that cause the disease, according to laboratories
that offer the test. Physicians say the test has poor accuracy until at least
three weeks after the bite, but can be used if a patient has late-stage symptoms.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27,444 cases of Lyme disease
were reported in 2007. The disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium
and is often treated with antibiotics. It is spread by black-legged ticks,
also known as deer ticks, and is most common in Connecticut, Massachusetts,
Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New
York and Wisconsin, according to the CDC.
The most common
test involves two tests from the same sample. It typically costs about $25
to $70 and is often covered by insurance. Based on CDC guidelines, the blood
is usually analyzed first with an antibody test called ELISA. If it is positive
or unclear, then a confirmatory test called the Western blot is done.
Allen C. Steere,
a Harvard University scientist who led the team that discovered Lyme disease
in 1975, says the two-tier test is "quite accurate" as long as you
use it properlywhich means for the most part, not too soon after the
suspected infection. In a study published last year, Dr. Steere and his colleagues
found that of 76 patients exhibiting a bulls-eye-shaped rash characteristic
of early Lyme disease, only a third tested positive for the disease. The bulls-eye
rash typically appears within a week or two of infection, according to the
CDC. But three to four weeks later, two-thirds of the group tested positive.
Given the tests'
low sensitivity in the early stages of Lyme disease, physicians recommend
treating with antibiotics when the patient develops the rash or other clear
bitten by a tick in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent often think they
should be tested immediately. Many people go to their doctors and say "I
got bit by a tick. Test me!" says Wisconsin researcher Edward A. Belongia,
director of the Epidemiology Research Center at the Marshfield Clinic Research
Foundation. Dr. Belongia is author of a 2004 study that found only 20% of
356 Lyme tests the scientists reviewed were clearly appropriate, based on
the patients' symptoms. Doctors say it is also wrong to get a test after being
treated for the disease, since the antibodies can linger for years in your
Critics of the
test, such as Raphael B. Stricker, a past president of International Lyme
and Associated Diseases Society, a Bethesda, Md., group of doctors specializing
in treating chronic Lyme disease, say the tests miss many patients with late-stage
Lyme disease. These patients can often test negative, Dr. Stricker says.
Dr. Steere says
that in his experience, the test is very effective in patients with late-stage
manifestations of the disease, such as arthritis or nerve damage. He does
his testing in a research lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. Accuracy
may vary from laboratory to laboratory, Dr. Steere adds.
Some labs specializing
in Lyme disease test for additional proteins they say are a sign of infection,
and as a result some doctors believe they are more accurate. But Dr. Steere
says the tests haven't been proven scientifically. The CDC Web site warns
consumers to beware of labs offering nonstandard Lyme disease tests. The CDC
encourages patients to "ask their physicians whether their testing was
performed using validated methods."
You can get
the tick tested, but doctors say that generally isn't necessary. Even if the
tick has Lyme bacteria, the disease won't be transmitted to you unless the
tick fed on you for 24 to 72 hours.
classifieds allegedly ran in newspapers (when there were still newspapers)
1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor's dog.
$300 Hardly used, call Chubby.
California grown - 89 cents/lb.
Must sell washer and dryer $300.
FOR SALE ..
Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.
FOR SALE BY
Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition.
$1,000 or best offer. No longer needed. Got married last month, Wife knows
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.