Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

Previous Columns
8:30 AM EST Wednesday, April 19, 2006: Nice day yesterday. The conventional wisdom (from one the financial media): "Stocks rallied on hopes that interest rates won't rise much higher. Energy producers cheered record oil prices. Chip makers, retailers and transports gained as well. Bonds bounced thanks to another drop in housing starts and relatively tame inflation."

The Russell 2000 yesterday:

The S&P 500 yesterday:

Nasdaq yesterday:

Yesterday was one of a dozen or so days a year which shows, according to "buy and hold" proponents, why it's futile to try and time the market. If you miss those dozen days -- whenever they happen -- you'll do lousy for the year. Yesterday proved them right. But no one knows why.

Housing starts sink to lowest in a year: March weather was awful. Construction of new houses fell 7.8%. No big deal. Fact is the housing market is cooling. Speculators have finally left the housing market (probably moved into the stockmarket, see above). My friends are downgrading the houses they're building, i.e. going for entry level houses, which still have robust demand. "Entry level" is $250,00 and below.

And then there are specialty markets -- like Manhattan, which actually has a shortage of apartments. My friend just sold her 7,000 square foot apartment in Manhattan's tony upper east side for $12.5 million, or $1,786 a square foot. She had bought the apartment in 1996 for $4 million, put three quarters of a million into it. That gave her -- if my maths is right -- a compounded rate of return of 10.2% a year (not counting the tax benefits). Not bad, given that she got to live there, also. But not for free. She paid a hefty monthly maintenance on the place -- at last count $10,000 a month.

My friend's apartment is unusual because of its hugeness. Brokers are telling me the Manhattan market is "slow, but holding up." The magic $1,000 a square foot is still holding in most hot parts of Manhattan.

Opening your own Web store: A friend called. "I want to open a web store. Give me the name of your best designer." No, I said. That's an invitation to being ripped off. First, you have to learn web site basics. How it works. How a web site is constructed. Which software is easiest (Dreamweaver). You have to learn enough to be dangerous."

I know of sites that cost a cool million. And I know sites that cost several thousand dollars. The difference is minuscule -- except in management ignorance. No area of business is today more subject to snake oil salesmen than the web design business.

The good news: You can steal the design of any web site. Don't believe me? Right click this instance. You'll see an option "View source." That means you'll see the software code that I used to produce this awesomely beautiful web site. Copy the code. Paste it into a text editor and bingo you can have my web site. For free. It's more complicated when you want to sell things. But there are zillions of cheap ways of going that, including letting Yahoo! or others run the backend of your store.

In the end, my friend budgeted $50,000 for her web site and promised she'd come visit me for quick 15 minute basic lesson on how web sites work.

P.S. Don't see me an email telling me this site is not "awesomely beautiful." It's not meant to be. It's meant to be readable and useful. By the way, I stole the idea for my font from the Economist's web site. I think my typeface is lot more readable than those on the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

Good news on Nuts: New research is making a strong case in favor of adding more nuts to your diet. In a study, the people who ate an ounce of nuts or a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter five times per week had a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to the people who rarely ate nuts or peanut butter. Nuts are high in healthy fats and other nutrients that may help ward off type 2 diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels steady. -- RealAge, Click here.

Wisdom: "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." -- Winston Churchill.

Bad Redneck Humor -- Part 1:
A Mexican drinks his beer, throws his glass in the air, pulls out his pistol and shoots the glass to pieces.

He says, "In Mexico our glasses so cheap we don't need to drink from the same glass twice."

An Iraqi, obviously impressed by this, drinks his beer, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his AK-47 and blasts the glass to pieces.

He says, "In Iraq we have so much sand to make glasses that we don't need to drink out of the same glass twice either."

The Texas cowboy, cool as a cucumber, picks up his beer and drinks it, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his pistol and shoots the Mexican and the Iraqi, and catches his glass.

He says, "In America we have so many Mexicans and Arabs that we don't have to drink with the same ones twice."

Bad Redneck Humor -- Part 2:
Dallas Air Traffic Control: "Tower to Saudi Air 911 -- You are cleared to land eastbound on runway 09R."

Saudi Air: "Thank you Dallas ATC. Acknowledge cleared to land on infidel's runway 09R - Allah be Praised !!"

Dallas ATC "Tower to Iran Air 711 -- You are cleared to land westbound on runway 27L."

Iran Air: "Thank you Dallas ATC. We are cleared to land on infidel's runway 27L. - Allah is Great !!"

Pause: Static.............


Dallas ATC: "Go ahead Saudi Air 911?"


Dallas ATC: "Well bless your little hearts! Y'all be careful now and tell Allah hi for us -- ya hear?."

Harry Newton

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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty 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 Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
Go back.