Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment, Technology Investor. Harry Newton
November 30, 2009: Please indulge me. Family
stuff, deadline on a project (yes a paying project), some businessy stuff and
a ferocious cough have kept me from being ultra-creative this morning.
Hence, I'll repeat
(and update) a little of Friday's column -- which, I'm guessing most of you
was cold, wet and dreary in Portland, Oregon for one miserable day. But then
it cleared up and it's been ultra-gorgeous ever since. Don't believe me? I biked
to the top of a Portland hill last evening and took this photo of Mount Hood.
What an incredible view.
a large town, but it is one of America's most livable and most comfortable cities.
I'm thoroughly impressed.
staying until this evening with my son, Michael. On my first night I went looking
for something to eat. I opened all the kitchen cupboards. Most were bare --
except for one shelf:
"We eat a lot of beans."
He explained that he had read The China Study, decided meat was
the root of all evil. Hence, the beans.
More beans than
I've ever seen. I took this photo with my Canon G10. Sadly, its lens isn't wide
enough to capture the full horror of a kitchen stocked with only one thing --
Portland has Patagonia, Filsons, North Face, REI , Columbia, Eddie Bauer, Mountain
Gear -- more stores to buy outdoor clothing than you ever dreamed of. In fact,
far too many.
most cities, suffers from "too many" of many things -- like trendy
residential housing and trendy commercial office space.
during booms and then implodes during the subsequent bust. A smart Portland
businessman told me there are two reasons companies fail : First, they grow
too fast. Second, their overheads (which includes their borrowings) are too
Right now we're
in the bust part of the cycle. The bust is when the bargains appear. They appeared
in the stockmarket in March -- when blood ran heavily on Wall Street. Now blood
is beginning to flow in commercial real estate. One large project just sold
here for less than half its price a couple of years ago. The return to
the new owners is 12.5% a year with existing rents -- which is phenomenal, when
you remember that commercial office property here (and everywhere else) was
being sold three years ago with a four per cent return.
commercial real estate may be the bargain of the century.
Keep your eyes
scariest time. There are many intelligent people
who are genuinely worried about the dollar's fate. Those people read the writing
on the wall -- If you were China (or any other country), would you want to hold
your country's key assets in depreciating dollars? Clearly no.
really is a good case for holding some of our assets in one of two things (preferably
Gold, silver, oil, etc.
Assets that can't be reproduced -- like land to grow things on, beautiful
land and land that is unique.
Internet is full of shrieking gloom and doom propaganda. Here's a typical piece.
It's actually worth watching. It's called The
believe the paper they send you. From Crains Chicago:
fund manager arrested for fraud
The manager of a Northfield-based hedge fund was arrested Tuesday on federal
charges of allegedly cheating investors out of millions of dollars.
Jay Nolan, 56, of Wilmette, was charged by the federal government for alleged
mail fraud. He was released Wednesday on a $100,000 secured bond.
Mr. Nolan established Lodge Capital Group LLC in Northfield in 2002 and is
the only member of the company, according to a court document. Two years later
he created the commodity futures hedge fund Lodge Diversified Fund LP.
the federal government, Mr. Nolan knowingly concealed to investors that his
hedge fund had sustained massive losses in 2006 over the course of three months.
One individual, who had invested nearly $3 million with Lodge Diversified
Fund between 2005 and 2007, claimed that after confronting Mr. Nolan last
week, the fund manager admitted he had been falsifying monthly statements
to cover up the losses. Mr. Nolan allegedly showed the investor how he fabricated
letterhead to make the monthly account statement appear as if they came from
a legitimate futures clearing house, according to the federal complaint.
who cooperated with the federal government, suspected wrongdoing after he
attempted to confirm that his account with Mr. Nolan held $5.6 million and
the Lodge Diversified Fund had a balance of $6.3 million, according to the
court document. When the unnamed investor called to check up on the accounts,
he learned that the hedge fund had a balance of $170,000.
Mr. Nolan continued
to take a 2% monthly management fee from his clients in spite of the losses
they sustained, the complaint said.
Mr. Nolan faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for mail fraud and a
maximum fine of $250,000 for mail fraud. He would be required to pay restitution.
about Afghanistan. I
suspect our president is going to do something really dumb and send more troops.
We'll hear tomorrow night. Meantime, I've updated my site, added even more reasons
to be against this war. I'm asking everyone to send an email to the White House,
saying "Don't send more troops." This is not a radical
position. This is ultra-conservative Harry speaking. The site -- www.StopAfghanistan.org
-- has info on how to get
your views known at the White House..
to be grateful for and lessons learned in 2009.
I'm still working on them. If you have particular
lessons you'd like to share, email me .
New Yorker cartoon:
We went to Oregon's
coast to see Haystack, which is a popular 230 foot, bird-nesting rock at Cannon
Beach. This is the photo from the tourist brochure on a nice day.
We didn't have
nice blue skies. We had gray skies and a cold wind. But my trusty Canon G10
Michael's yellow Lab.
Back in town tomorrow
with Things We Learned inn 2009. Send me your thoughts.
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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