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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 Tuesday, August 29, 2006: Slowly I've been lifting my investments abroad. My favored countries include Canada, Australia and Germany. I like Canada and Australia because of their minerals and commodities. I like Germany because it seems to be awakening. I only invest if the deal makes sense. I don't do it because I believe the US dollar will continue to slowly weaken. I see that weakening as a bonus. One nice performer: Vanguard's International Value Fund (VTRIX). I've talked about it before.

Bloomberg had this story early this morning:

The dollar declined on speculation. An industry report today will show consumer confidence fell to the lowest this year, making it less likely the Federal Reserve will resume raising interest rates.

The U.S. currency is heading for a monthly loss against the euro as traders bet the European Central Bank will raise its key rate twice more with consumer confidence in Germany at the highest in almost five years. The Fed broke a two-year cycle of rate increases earlier this month in response to signs of slower growth. Minutes of the (Fed) meeting will be released later today.

"There's downside risk to the data today, and that's a negative for the dollar,'' said Steve Barrow, chief currency strategist at Bear Stearns Cos. in London. "Our view is the Fed will pause again in September.''

The dollar fell to $1.2818 per euro at 10:16 a.m. in London, from $1.2779 in late New York trading yesterday, poised for a 0.4 percent monthly decline. The U.S. currency also dropped to 116.76 yen, from 117.18, the biggest slide in two weeks. It was lower today against 14 of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The euro earlier reached a record against the yen as the Financial Times Deutschland reported the ECB has decided to raise its forecasts for growth and inflation in the region. ...

German consumer confidence climbed to 8.6 in August from 8.5 the month before, Gfk, a market-research company, said today. That's the highest since November 2001. The ECB (European Central Bank) will likely maintain its key rate at 3 percent this week after four increases since December. Futures traders are betting on two further moves before the end of the year to cool inflation as growth picks up.

The Conference Board's index of U.S. consumer confidence fell to 102.5 from 106.5 in July, according to the median forecast of a Bloomberg News survey. The New York-based board will release the results of its survey at 10 a.m. local time.

A similar index compiled by the University of Michigan declined more than forecast in August, to 78.7 from 84.7, according to a report on August 18. ...

If you missed yesterday's story on the housing bust, click here.

There are bargains coming soon in real estate.
Good idea: Keep cash on hand. Be ready to pounce. Muni NY floaters are now paying the a taxable equivalent yield of 5%. When a cheap property appears, bid extra low. Be prepared to walk. When God closes a door, he always opens a window, i.e. there's always another opportunity. Nobody ever went broke saying NO. Cash has never burnt hole in anyone's pocket. (Enough already with the cliches this morning, Harry.)

How do you tell when there's no news?
When the press starts running anniversary stories. Please spare me any more stories on Katrina, one-year later. I'm sympathetic, but bored -- especially with New Orleans' mayor.

Digital photography update:
1. Best pocket camera -- the Canon SD700. Image stabilization makes a huge difference. But the BIG key is to brace yourself against a wall or sit at a table.

2. Memory continues to plummet. My SD700 takes SD cards. TigerDirect is advertising a 2GB card for $39.99. Click here. NewEgg has one for $29.99 (after a $13 rebate). Click here. You'll never fill a 2GB card in one vacation. Trust me. a 2gig card holds 1500 photos.
3. The easiest way to transfer photos to your PC is not with a cable, but with a card reader. This $20 Linksys one slides into the PCMCIA slot in your laptop.

It takes a bunch of different memory cards, including the SD card, which the SD700 uses. Click here. MSI has a similar one for $14.99. It takes these memory cards: SD, mini SD, MMC, RS-MMC, MMC4.0, RS MMC 4.0, Micro SD and MMC Mobile. Click here. Some flat screen TVs will actually accept these card readers, thus allowing you to watch your vacation photos directly on a massive screen. My Sharp Aquos LCD takes such a card. I can show pictures myself larger than life. This is truly frightening.

The best traveling bag: This is the bag I took to Europe biking. It's called the Eagle Creek Load Warrior. It comes in three sizes -- 22", 25" and 30". I took the 30".

The bag's pluses:
1. Light as a feather.
2. Rolls like a charm.
3. Has huge space -- 6000 cubic inches.
4. It's soft. So you can keep stuffing and stuffing and more stuffing.
5. It has two handles, making it real easy to heft into a taxi.
6. Sturdily made. It stood up well.
7. Cheap. $180. Click here.

The US Tennis Open begin yesterday, with a spectacular late-night match -- Andre Agassi versus Andrew Pavel. Agassi won. Today's matches include Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Marat Safin and Leyton Hewitt. For today's Schedule of Play, click here.

US Tennis Open 2006 -- TV Schedule for August
All times are Eastern Standard
Tuesday August 29
2:00am - 4:00am
Match of the day (taped) USA
Tuesday August 29
11:00am - 5:00pm
Early rounds USA
Tuesday August 29
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Early rounds USA
Wednesday August 30
2:00am - 4:00am
Match of the day (taped) USA
Wednesday August 30
11:00am - 5:00am
Men's Early / Women's 2nd USA
Wednesday August 30
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Men's Early / Women's 2nd USA
Thursday August 31
2:00 am - 4:00 am
Match of the day (taped) USA
Thursday August 31
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Second round USA
Thursday August 31
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Second round USA
CBS Sports also runs highlights from 12:37am to 1:07 am each evening
For the entire US Open TV schedule (including September), click here. Easiest: Tell your TiVo to record "Tennis."

How to test your eyesight:
A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, he had to take an eye sight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters: C Z W Y X N O S T Q C Z.

"Can you read this?" the optician asked.

"Read it?" the Polish immigrant replied, "I know the guy."

Repartee of the grand old style:

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend... If you have one." -- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... If there is one." -- Winston Churchill, in reply.

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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