Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
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."
Russell 2000 yesterday:
The S&P 500 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
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
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.
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
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
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,
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss
of enthusiasm." -- Winston Churchill.
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
He says, "In
America we have so many Mexicans and Arabs that we don't have to drink with
the same ones twice."
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
Saudi Air: "DALLAS
ATC! DALLAS ATC!!!"
Dallas ATC: "Go
ahead Saudi Air 911?"
Saudi Air: "YOU
HAVE CLEARED BOTH OUR AIRCRAFT FOR THE SAME RUNWAY GOING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS!!!
WE ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE!!!
Dallas ATC: "Well
bless your little hearts! Y'all be careful now and tell Allah hi for us -- ya
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
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