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Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor. Previous Columns
8:30 AM Thursday, April 21, 2005: It's the perfect storm on the stockmarket. Huge budget and trade deficits. Low dollar. High oil. Easing earnings (with exceptions). Maxxed-out consumer credit. Slowing economy. And now accelerating inflation...

assuring that the Fed will continue to jump interest rates -- perhaps at an even faster rate -- further dampening the economy in general and the stockmarket specifically.

Not good.

There are few stocks worth holding. Most are in free-fall. Most have now dropped their 15% -- our Stop Loss Rule. But why repeat myself? The stockmarket remains NOT the place to be.

Suze Orman's heady advice on CNBC:
"Pay off your credit card balances before a divorce." I sincerely hope everyone reading this column pays their credit card balances off in full each month. If you don't, the credit card companies will charge you interest at 25%+ on the outstanding balance in some cases -- on the full balance in others.

Harry's advice: Watch out for sneaky bank and credit card company charges appearing mysteriously on your monthly bills. They'll remove the charges -- if you ask. But each month, you now got to ask.

Corporate telephone calls are out of control: Telecom is the worst managed corporate expense. Telecom bills from landline and cell phone providers are usually wrong and always in the provider's favor. Many telecom consultants make a handsome living securing refunds from overbilling carriers. Many telecom consultants do well re-configuring telecom facilities -- lines and phones -- to drop monthly bills.

The problem of high telecom bills has become worse in recent years following the spate of carrier mergers and the fact that telecom-ignorant IT has taken over telecom at most major corporations and has mismanaged it into the ground. Problems include:

+ No corporate policy on ordering of fax lines and cell phones. Everyone orders whatever they feel like, and dumps the bill into any budget they can find.
+ No checking if the new fax lines are actually needed, i.e. most companies have spare lines floating around.
+ No one negotiating a corporate bulk deal on telecom with the carriers -- landline or cellular.
+ No one checking the monthly bills to see if they conform to the deal and prices the seller actually sold the company.

A peeve of mine: No one trains operators to help desperate customers calling in for advice.

My favorite telecom mismanagement. Many dead Verizon employees continue to have voice mail. I'm guessing their customers will never get a callback.

Where are municipal bond interest rates going? Smith Barney's bond guru, George Friedlander, is hosting a rare conference call today at noon. The number to call is 888-790-3051. The later replay will be at 866 400 9639. Passcode is Friedlander. Branch is 376. Get on early. It will be busy.

The perfect investment? From the International Herald Tribune: "An American who registered the Internet domain name before the new pope was chosen said on Wednesday he had not worked out what to do with it but was pretty sure it would be a sin to sell it to a pornographer.
Rogers Cadenhead said he registered six domain names earlier this month based on names he thought the new pope might choose.

"Whatever I decide, it's going to be guided by a desire not to anger 1.1 billion Catholics," said Cadenhead, who says he has already rejected an offer from a gambling site. "Even though I'm a lapsed Catholic, I'm not lapsed that far." He added that he was considering his options for the site but that if the pope's people were to approach him to discuss taking over the site, he might make some requests. "I'd like one of those big papal hats, and maybe three days/two nights at the Vatican hotel they built for the conclave," he said.

Cadenhead said he had already recouped his $72 investment in the six papal domain names with $77 in advertising revenue in 24 hours.

Why the Pope is German: Writes reader Linda from Berlin, Germany:
"Harry, I have lived in Germany for awhile and I can tell you why a German cardinal was elected to be Pope.

Yesterday, I drove a 10 year old German boy to his soccer practice. Suddenly he yelled "Hey!! you were supposed to be taking me to soccer!" (Instead of saying, "oops, I'm sorry, Linda, I forgot to tell you to turn right back there.")

Also yesterday, the doctor's office called me. "YOU forgot to pick up your prescription! Come by the office to pick it up!" Commanded the nurse. (Instead of saying "Oops, we forgot to give you your prescription while you were here, I'll put it in the mail for you today if you'd like.")

Get the picture? No matter what mistakes the Catholic Church has made, such as a dwindling supply of priests and the ongoing pedophile priest scandal, being a German Pope means never having to say "oops" and then making the 'ooops' right again.

Harry, I think your experience with Deutsche Bank is illustrative, too.

Microsoft releases Office 2005. Of course, Microsoft hasn't released Office 2005 and probably won't until 2007. (It's very slow these days.). A friend sent me a "sneak peak" at what Office 2005 might contain. Enjoy:

And my favorite....

The furry black wabbit
A precious little girl walks into a pet shop and asks, in the sweetest little lisp, between two missing teeth, "Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep widdle wabbits?"

As the shopkeeper's heart melts, he gets down on his knees so that he's on her level and asks, "Do you want a widdle white wabbit, or a thoft and fuwwy bwack wabbit, or maybe one like that cute widdle bwown wabbit over there?"

She, in turn, blushes, rocks on her heels, puts her hands on her knees, leans forward and says, in a tiny quiet voice,

"I don't think my python weally gives a thit."

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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