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

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9:00 AM EST, Tuesday, December 16, 2008: These seem to make a modicum of sense for that little part of your portfolio not in cash:

+ DGP. The PowerShares double Gold.

+ DXO. The PowerShares double Oil. At some stage oil will turn.

Short D.H. Horton (DHI), the homebuilder. It was down 10% yesterday (following my recommendation). It will fall more.

Be wary investing too much time or money in playing this stockmarket. It's seriously difficult. Better to spend your time on your own business and job.

Wall Street is a product machine. It creates investments and then sells them, pocketing a handsome commission. It has no long-term interest in the product it sells or the person it sells that product to (i.e. you or me). That's all you have to know when dealing with your broker, banker or financial adviser. There are exceptions. They're usually found in small firms. What brings this thought up (again) is today's Bloomberg story:

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Tremont Group Holdings Inc., a hedge- fund firm owned by OppenheimerFunds Inc., had $3.3 billion, or more than half its total assets, invested with Bernard Madoff, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Tremont’s Rye Investment Management unit had $3.1 billion, virtually all the money the group managed, allocated to Madoff, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information is private. Tremont had another $200 million, or about 7 percent of its total assets, invested through its fund of funds group, Tremont Capital Management.

Tremont, which manages a total of $5.8 billion, would have made roughly $62 million this year peddling funds that are solely run by Madoff, who was arrested Dec. 11 after he allegedly confessed to running a “giant Ponzi scheme” that may have bilked investors out of $50 billion. Hedge funds that invested with the 70-year-old Queens, New York-native charged fees to their clients for the task of vetting the fund.

“We believe Tremont exercised appropriate due diligence in connection with the Madoff investments,” the firm said today in a statement. Tremont parent OppenheimerFunds is a unit of Springfield, Massachusetts-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Wonder where your taxpayer money goes? Try half a billion each year to "disabled" railroad workers. The New York Times ran a huge expose on the Railroad Retirement Board -- a major taxpayer ripoff. The story included:

Railroad officials complained that disability benefits were given for medical conditions regardless of whether they actually impaired one’s ability to work. The conditions themselves were often vague. A worker, for example, could be considered disabled with “moderately severe antisocial ideas.” What constituted an antisocial idea was open to interpretation.

For the full story on the Railroad Retirement Board

Heh, a little good news. My friend buys and manages commercial buildings. He puts out requests to banks for loans. He's getting responses from banks. They want to lend. They won't lend 85% of the building's cost, like in the old days. But they'll lend 65% to 70%. And the rates are reasonable 6% to 7.25%.

Pfishing is on the rise: Every "bank" and "credit union" on the planet is sending me "ALERT" messages telling me something is wrong with my account with them. I should please log on and fix the problem. The "problem" doesn't exist. Most likely I don't have an account with them. Some crook is trying to "pfish" my bank account information and password out of me -- so they can empty it when I'm not looking.

Be ultra-wary. Don't even think aboiut clicking on the link which they included in their email..

If I ran GM. I'd recognize my problem -- namely everyone thinks I make awful cars. Solution: Offer a "10-Year No Repair" Program. Whatever goes wrong, GM, fixes it. This is not a unique idea. BMW offers something similar. My friend leases a BMW. He tells me he's never paid for a repair. He even paid a few bucks extra. His tires are fully covered. Meantime, why can't GM make cars like this one -- my favorite BMW:

The 328i xDrive Sports Wagon. Goes like a rocket. Handles like a charm. Built like a tank. All wheel drive. 25 MPG on the highway.

Daily promotional emails make sense: Only four companies email me daily with specials. I like receiving them. They're easy to delete if I'm busy. But sometimes I feel I've worked hard and need a reward. Looking at the specials is usually better than actually buying them. But I succumb occasionally.

Why aren't you sending your customers and prospects more promotional emails? When they do come to buy, they'll remember us.

Take your grandkids to Santa. They'll enjoy the experience, as will Santa.

A judge was punishing three men because they had committed a crime. Their sentence was a few years in the desert. He said that they could each take one thing with them.

The first guy decides to take an umbrella, so that he can have shade whenever he wants.

The second guy decides to take a water bottle so that he won't get thirsty.

Finally, the third guy decides to take a car door.

The judge asked, "Why in the world would you want to take a car door?"

The man replies, "If it gets hot, I can roll down the window."

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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.