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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, December 13, 2006: Learned observers (like economists) spend much energy reading the tea leaves of the few words the Fed releases on its all-important interest rate decisions. These decisions have serious impacts -- killing or boosting the housing industry and affecting the cost of borrowing money for businesses' expansion capital. Understand the Fed's concern is less with the economy and far more with inflation. It has a serious obsession with restraining inflation. It will do everything it can to arrest inflation -- even at the expense of clobbering the economy. Here's the complete statement the Fed released yesterday. You can see the Fed basically hasn't a clue on inflation's future course. Hence, it may or may not increase, drop or hold interest rates steady in coming months. My tea leaves are as good as yours.

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to keep its target for the federal funds rate at 5-1/4 percent.

Economic growth has slowed over the course of the year, partly reflecting a substantial cooling of the housing market. Although recent indicators have been mixed, the economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace on balance over coming quarters.

Readings on core inflation have been elevated, and the high level of resource utilization has the potential to sustain inflation pressures. However, inflation pressures seem likely to moderate over time, reflecting reduced impetus from energy prices, contained inflation expectations, and the cumulative effects of monetary policy actions and other factors restraining aggregate demand.

Nonetheless, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.

If only God had the money. I love this story. It came from the New York Post, one of our more salacious daily newspapers::

A brash hedge-fund manager is putting his money where his mouth is — agreeing to pay a record $45 million for a Manhattan residence.

Daniel Loeb, the outspoken founder of New York-based Third Point LLC, has signed a contract to buy a more than 10,000-square-foot penthouse condominium under construction at 15 Central Park West at the site of the old Mayflower Hotel.

The hard-charging investment mogul, who manages a $3.6 billion fund, is known for his publicly circulated poison-pen letters to executives he claims are pretentious or lazy. The New Yorker magazine described him as an investor's version of the late political columnist H. L. Mencken, but added that his manner could be "self-interest disguised as moralistic bombast."

Loeb had no comment about his purchase.

Plans for the 10,700-square-foot, full-floor pad include eight bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, two powder rooms, a large screening room, his-and-hers offices, a library and terraces measuring nearly 800 square feet. The 39th-floor apartment features 14-foot ceilings. It is to be completed by spring 2007.

The towering sales figure beats the previous record held by News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who paid $44 million earlier this year for the late Laurance Rockefeller's triplex co-op penthouse on Fifth Avenue. News Corp. owns The Post.

It also bests the previous record condo price of $42.25 million that Mexican financier David Martinez paid at the nearby Time Warner Center. Martinez combined a full-floor apartment on the 76th floor with a half-floor residence above. He then recently purchased the other half of the 77th floor for about $12 million, giving him almost 17,000 square feet total after spending nearly $53 million.

Loeb's purchase comes seven months after he bought a sprawling eight-bedroom West Village town house for $11.2 million.

The 15 Central Park West complex — designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern and developed by brothers Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf — will comprise two structures between Broadway and Central Park West (from 61st to 62nd streets).

A drive-in courtyard will separate the 20-story building and a 43-story tower, both with pricey Indiana limestone facades. There are 200 residences ranging in price from $1.97 million for a one-bedroom place to Loeb's $45 million palace. Also featured in the complex are retail stores, a private 13,500-square-foot gym and spa, a private restaurant, wine cellars and staff quarters.

According to a release by Zeckendorf Development, the building is about 40 percent sold, with 12 of the 16 penthouses already spoken for.

If only God had the money -- Part 2. Quarterly profits soared 93 percent at Goldman Sachs, which is paying $16.5 billion in compensation this year, roughly $623,418 per employee. I bet some of the Goldman people will use their bonuses and move into the building.

15 Central Park West, Central Park and a nice day in New York City. Today is overcast, but warm. I think the best part of building is this proposed 75-foot lap pool.

Phone Trouble
A South Carolina farm wife called the local phone company to report that her telephone failed to ring when her friends called and that on the few occasions when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang. The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house.

The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring. Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire via a steel chain and collar.

2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.

3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called.

4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.

5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring...

Which demonstrates that - contrary to popular opinion - some problems actually CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning.

The perfect call center employee
Mujibar was trying to get a job in a Filipino call center.

The Personnel Manager said, "Mujibar, you have passed all the tests, except one. Unless you pass it, you cannot qualify for this job."

Mujibar said, "I am ready."

The manager said, "Make a sentence using the words Yellow, Pink, and Green"

Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said, "Mister Manager, I am ready."

The manager said, "Go ahead."

Mujibar said, "The telephone goes green, green, green, and I pink it up, and say, 'Yellow, this is Mujibar.'"

Mujibar now works as a customer service person. No doubt you have spoken to him.

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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