Technology Investor 

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

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8:30 AM EST, Friday, August 17, 2007:
IJapan plunged 5.4% today. That's a HUGE falll -- their largest since 2001. This is getting more than serious. Now there is talk of a global recession, bringing down oil prices and oil stocks even more. This sub-prime contagion seems to have has no bounds.

People are talking of great bargains out there. Bottom fishing is beginning. Bear Stearns and Goldman bounced yesterday. The S&P was up. After Japan this morning, who knows? it can be painful to catch a falling knife -- old Wall Street saying. But it can also be profitable.

For more philosophy I prefer Mae West. Her best (and most appropriate for today) is "I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better." Others of hers I like:

Too much of a good thing... can be wonderful

Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I've never tried.

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day, and another, in case it doesn't rain

When I'm good I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Each day the media reports the indexes. But they're averages. Michael J. O'Rourke of BTIG took each of the stocks in the S&P 500 and figured their movement between July 16 and August 15. His results: There were 32 advancers, 469 decliners. 260 stocks were down more than 10%; 63 were down more than 20%. A total of $1.3 trillion in market capitalization has been wiped off. Here are the top 25 decliners. The drops are big.

Start Market Cap
End Market Cap
Price %
Reduction in market cap
SPX 500 $13,781,865,212,731 $12,510,976,425,750 -9.22%
MGIC $4,714,052,250 $2,755,332,390 -41.55% $1,958,719,860
E*Trade $9,813,626,350 $5,937,692,150 -39.50% $3,875,934,200
Tenet Health $3,126,662,200 $1,901,540,400 -39.18% $1,225,121,800
Countrywide $20,673,777,280 $12,633,315,680 -38.89% $8,040,461,600
CIT Group Inc $10,584,614,150 $6,482,333,000 -38.76% $4,102,281,150
Dillard's Inc $2,230,487,580 $1,388,116,110 -37.77% $842,371,470
Akamai $8,067,984,240 $5,236,273,500 -35.10% $2,831,710,740
AMBAC Financial $8,712,805,440 $5,707,968,000 -34.49% $3,004,837,440
CB Richard Ellis $7,680,000,000 $5,064,375,000 -34.06% $2,615,625,000
Jones Apparel $3,006,673,780 $2,028,769,740 -32.52% $977,904,040
QLogic Corp $2,737,336,550 $1,915,022,200 -30.04% $822,314,350
Family Dollar $5,272,247,680 $3,703,844,480 -29.75% $1,568,403,200
U.S. Steel $13,543,403,580 $9,577,518,300 -29.28% $3,965,885,280
Lehman Brothers $38,774,590,400 $27,467,110,260 -29.16% $11,307,480,140
Convergys Corp $3,314,397,420 $2,371,142,640 -28.46% $943,254,780
Alcoa Inc $40,667,637,480 $29,302,958,800 -27.95% $11,364,678,680
Pall Corp $5,980,330,440 $4,349,777,040 -27.27% $1,630,553,400
Starwood Hotels $15,982,152,900 $11,632,770,240 -27.21% $4,349,382,660

Some people see these names as their bargain shopping list: The full list of the entire S&P 500 is here.

U.S. News & World Report had a recent cover story on "How to make money -- the Buffet Way." It asked if you favorite stock got pounded by 15% in a day, would you:

1. Sell it and curse yourself for buying it in the first place?
2. Sit tight and do nothing until you recover your loss, then sell?
3. Smile and buy more, sure that everyone else is dead wrong?
4. Study and reconfirm your assessment of the company, then smile and buy more?

The "correct" answer is 4.

I don't like where this market is heading. But I've been saying that for some time. Yesterday I talked about easy hedging techniques. Go here. My friends are "starting to pick."

I like Apricorn products -- software and hardware: They're selling a tiny portable USB hard drive -- 80 gigs for $99; 120 gigs for $119; 160 gigs for $159 and 250 gigs for $299. Use it for backing up -- software included. Use it for storing photos or videos of classic tennis games. It works with PCs and Macs. It's a great "back-to-college" present.

The Apricorn comes in both USB and firewire, which is faster and more pricey. I use both interfaces. Both are flawless. Click here.

Anyone had any experience buying hearing aids? My audiologist will sell me a pair of Siemens Centra Active aids for $5,925. The first place I looked on the Internet had them for $2,930 -- a 50% ($3,000) savings. What am I missing?

Verizon's FIOS makes huge sense (if you can get it). Moe from writes:

Harry, I was reading about your DSL problems. I hate DSL with a passion as I do Satellite TV. Both very unreliable. I have a solution for you. In January, I got rid of copper. Everything is fiber optic. Phone, TV, Internet. The internet is a blazing 5 megabits down and 2 megabits up. That's at any time of day and it never cuts out. TV is amazing. We have a 50" plasma and even the non HD signal looks great. HD of course is breathtaking. Here's a link with info. I see it's available in NYC.

Unfortunately, Moe, it is available in Manhattan, but not my part of Manhattan, much to my chagrin. But it is available in a myriad of places all over the country. Use his link. If you can get it in your town, get it. No hesitation. FIOS is a far superior way of gettng Internet, phone and TV.

A great Wal-Mart story
I was in Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina for my dog and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked me if I had a dog... (DUHHHH).

I was feeling a bit crabby so on impulse, I told her NO and that I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital the last time. BUT, I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms.

Her eyes about bugged out of her head.

I went on and on with the bogus diet story and she was totally buying it.

I told her that it was an easy, cheap diet and that the way it works is to load your pockets or purse with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry.

The package said the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

(I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall guy behind her.)

Horrified, she asked if something in the dog food had poisoned me and was that why I ended up in the hospital.

I said, Oh NO!, I'd been sitting in the street licking my butt when a car hit me.

I thought the tall guy in back of the line was going to have to be carried out of the store.

The courtroom logic
A man and his wife were getting a divorce at a local court, but the custody of their children posed a problem. The mother jumped to her feet and protested to the judge that since she had brought the children into this world, she should retain custody of them. The man also wanted custody of his children, so the judge asked for his side of the story.

After a long moment of silence, the man rose from his chair and replied: "Judge, when I put a dollar into a vending machine, and a Pepsi comes out, does the Pepsi belong to me or to the machine?"

He won.

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.
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