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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM EST, Thursday, August 6, 2009. Stress can really kill. My friend, the doctor, tells me many of his friends have picked up horrible diseases in the last couple of years -- as a result of stress, he believes. He can't prove a direct connection between stress and weird stuff like MS, heart disease or diabetes. But he says talking to them about their personal finances often brings up the same story -- investments gone south, margin calls, no cash, forced to sell their main house into a weak market, etc. And the resulting marital problems.

There is no easy solution. But friends under huge stress tell me they're coping with a combination of strategies, chief of which are exercise, rest (especially catnaps) and reduced food intake.

I do like this quote from Pico Iyer, who writes a column called "The doctor is within."

You make your way to happiness not by fretting about or trafficking in New York Age animations, but simply by finding the cause of your suffering, and then attending to it, as any doctor (of mind or body) might do.

It's more stressful to lose money than it is pleasurable to make money. It's even more stressful to find that little is working. It's been a hard year. Many managers have actually lost money.

I looked at the recent returns of my remaining money managers. In July, the S&P 500 went up 7.6%. But most of my managers were up 0.5% -- less than one percent. I know one is seriously annoyed at himself. He shouldn't be. He didn't lose money. But the competitive pressures (self-inflicted) are strong.

Leveraged and inverse ETFs are supposed to make a daily move inverse or double of what the underlying index does. Yesterday my reader friend, Robert Coates wrote. "Those leveraged and inverse ETFs which you wrote about yesterday are good -- but only for the one day. They are to be used only for short-term moves of a day or two. That's it. Of course the brokers didn't understand and thereby mislead their clients. They didn't understand what they were selling. These ETFs can be very useful for very short-term traders."

Reader Tom Durff writes:

Your friend Coates is absolutely correct.

The Prospectuses of the inverse ETFs clearly state that their objective is based on the intraday moves of the index. They are designed for daytrading, not for holding. Why else are the trading volumes so high. People who understand them are in and out multiple times each day.

Not only did the brokers not know what they were selling, but the firms don't make as much as they would from higher margin products. Hence the campaign against them. Anything that helps Wall Street is favored by regulators, all else is disfavored. To hell with the public.

STEC's roadshow presentation. If you want access, drop me an email -- . They priced last night's secondary at $31. STEC closed last night at $33.59. So presumably, if you got some shares you're up a few shekels. And selling them this morning will be today's game by many institutions. I suspect the price will drop a little and then bounce back. I do like the STEC's main business -- solid state drives for high-end storage servers. Fast. Safe. Reliable.

Sadly, they don't make a sold state drive I can pop into my laptop. But these laptop friendly drives are here from others. The technology is expensive -- about seven times as expensive as a moving disk platter drive. But the solid state ones are coming down in price and increasing in speed. Maximum PC magazine this month wrote glowingly of a 128 gig drive called the Patriot Torqx MLC SSD. And it's "only" $425 from Amazon..

Wealth is in the bottle. I'm obsessed by finding the magic bottle -- another WD-40, another New Skin, another Gorilla Glue. Here's my latest find:

Removeez is the idea of Jeremy Alcock. This is Jeremy and his family:

His kids play with magic markers. They pick up beach tar. They had bandages that left adhesive. Jeremy saw opportunity for something that would work safely on young skin. Four years later after much testing, reformulation and hand bottling, he's selling Removeez on Amazon and distributors are lining up to sell the product. The product, which is based on citrus oil, is "as natural as possible," Jeremy told me. He has four scents -- largely added to mask the citrus oil smell. Lavendar is most popular with women. Clove is most popular with men.

What impressed me most about my chats with Jeremy -- his thoroughness, his obsession with "getting it right" and his attention to design and packaging. Check out his web site. It's one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. You can buy his Removeez on Amazon. I haven't tried Jeremy's Removeez yet. But I'm hoping Jeremy will send me a bottle for this nice writeup. Hint. Hint.

The best Sarah Palin jokes
+ "According to a new poll, 42% of Americans say they would vote for Sarah Palin for president in 2012. They also said they'd support her decision to step down in 2013." --Conan O'Brien

+ "President Obama right now is in Russia. Obama went there because from Russia you can actually see Sarah Palin cleaning out her office in Alaska." --Conan O'Brien

+ "Well, according to a new post-election survey, people want Sarah Palin to run for president in 2012. It says she's been getting thousands of calls from people pleading with her to run, all Democrats." --Jay Leno

+ "It's an emotional day. A lot of us are still mourning the loss of one of America's most entertaining figures, who left us all too soon. But don't worry, folks, Sarah Palin will be back. Comedians everywhere are praying." --Conan O'Brien

The prescient Rabbi
The only cow in a small town in Poland stopped giving milk. The people did some research and found that they could buy a cow from Moscow for 2,000 rubles, or one from Minsk for 1,000 rubles. Being frugal, they bought the cow from Minsk .

The cow was wonderful. It produced lots of milk all the time, and the people were amazed and very happy. They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow and produce more cows like it.. Then they would never have to worry about the milk supply again.

They bought a bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow. However, whenever the bull came close to the cow, the cow would move away. No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest.

The people were very upset and decided to ask their wise rabbi, what to do. They told the rabbi what was happening. "Whenever the bull approaches our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward.

When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. An approach from the side and she just walks away to the other side."

The rabbi thought about this for a minute and asked, "Did you buy this cow from Minsk ?"

The people were dumbfounded, since they had never mentioned where they had gotten the cow. "You are truly a wise rabbi," they said.

"How did you know we got the cow from Minsk ?"

The rabbi answered sadly, "My wife is from Minsk "

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.