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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, Wednesday, August 29, 2007:
Since no one can predict, there is a natural tendency to go with the herd. I'm not exempt. Which means we're all depressed one day, all excited the next. Further there are a whole bunch of us who have to fill the airwaves with something useful each day.

I can't say that I feel any different to yesterday:

I don't like what I'm reading. Unsold houses at a 16-year high. Investor confidence low. Falling housing values. Escalating credit card debt.

The consumer -- you and me -- are 70% of the U.S. economy. Our spending counts. We borrowed heavily on our homes to build second homes and furnish them with big TVs and PCs. Now it's all over. The consumer has debts up the ying-yang and not enough income to pay them off.

I do take some satisfaction is having been negative on the financials earlier than the "brilliant" analyst at Merrill Lynch, who, only yesterday, downgraded Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Citigroup. The reason? "Looming losses on mortgage bonds and leveraged loans." Dah!

Markets have been awful since the subprime blow-up. Yesterday's 2+% blowup got headlines. But we are still a little up -- only a little -- on the year.

I have no idea whether this is the bottom or we face more unhappiness. I heard on today's CNBC that even the big traders were covering all their short selling "bets" from yesterday -- before today's market opens. They have no idea from one day to the next.

My advice remains: Make sure you're not in any stocks that will be affected by the subprime and the housing mess. Those include: Financials (including Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, etc.), home builders, those who supply them (and consumer retailers.

If your portfolio is in good shape, it's not a good idea to watch this market every day. You can easily drive yourself nuts. And nuts is not conducive to a happy life. Better to watch the tennis. The matches are getting better and better.

Booming business: Afghanistan's opium poppy production is up 17% year over year. Its global market share is now estimated at 82%.

Transferring wealth, one tuition bill at a time: The payments you make for the education of your children and your grandchildren are exempt from gift tax. Your payments are not deductible to you. But, I repeat, they are exempt from gift tax. It's an easy way of transferring wealth.

As they get older, they get less expensive and less demanding. Wrong. I spent eight hours yesterday putting together the wedding web site. Check out the site. I do good work. Claire and Ted's Wedding web site.

It's the cable, stupid. My son unplugged my wife's printer from my home-office network in order to plug his new laptop in. Sadly, he forgot to tell anyone, including me. Hence I became obsessed that we had a software problem.

You can waste more hours fiddling with software than anything else in the entire world. I did. Next time check the cable.

It's always the cable.

Your credit card's expiration date is bogus: To test it, I keep arbitrarily extending it. Today I bought two things. I listed my Visa's expiration as 2012. It really expires in October 2007. Extending the expiration date makes it much easier to leave your card on file to pay your phone bills, electricity bills, etc.

The US Open Tennis is on. Here's the TV schedule. Many hours of great tennis.

Confessional Joke - 1
A religious young woman, in Confession, "Forgive me, Father, for I Have sinned.
The priest said, "Confess your sins and be forgiven."
The young woman said, "Last night my boyfriend made mad Passionate love to me seven times."
The priest thought long and hard and then said, "Squeeze seven Lemons into a glass and then drink the juice."
The young woman asked, "Will this cleanse me of my sins?"
The priest said, "No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face."

Confessional Joke - 2
Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet Dog for company. One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and Asked, Father, my dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' a mass for the Poor creature?"
Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have Services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the Lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do Something for the poor creature."
Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya 'think $5,000 Is enough to donate to them for the service?"
Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of J-esus! Why Didn't ya tell me the dog was Catholic?

Confessional Joke - 3
An elderly man walks into a confessional. "I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 Years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. We went to a motel, Where I had sex with each of them three times."
Priest: "Are you sorry for your sins?"
Man: "What sins?"
Priest: "What kind of a Catholic are you?"
Man: "I'm Jewish."
Priest: "Why are you telling me all this?"
Man: "I'm telling everybody."

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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