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, December 8, 2006: I bought my dictionary back. Today's I'll own it again -- after a 7-year stint in the wilderness. I'd sold it along with the rest of publishing business in 1997, when techy things were boiling hot, and way overpriced. What goes around ultimately comes around. Nice feeling of ownership and control again.

The worst part of being an entrepreneur proffering free advice to sundry friends and managements of your investments is that no one (and I mean no one) listens. Everyone has their own agenda. It's always better to keep your advice to yourself, to your own business, to your own life. It also works better there. You can follow it through with action.

Mini-boomlet in tiny biotechs:
Ziopharm (ZIOP) and InSite Vision (ISV) are moving up. They will go higher. Two tiny biotechs that haven't moved (except downwards) are Vioquest Pharmaceuticals (VQPH) and Point Therapeutics (POTP). I like small biotechs but only for the long-term and only if I feel confident about their drugs. I do about these two. The keys to biotech success are:

1. You must have a several-year vision. Patience is the key.
2. Buy low-cap companies with good drugs awaiting clinical trials and FDA approval.
3. Own a bunch, i.e. spread your risks.

4. Wait for a movement. You'll get a bounce. Take your original money out. Play with the bank's money.

Hickey is predicting a major consumer recession: Fred Hickey writes a respected newsletter called "The High-Tech Strategist." He tends to be bearish. It's useful to read the other side. He writes, "If/when consumer spending buckles, corporate spending will follow. I remain in maximum defensive position. I hold no tech longs. Huge amounts of leverage, a giant disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street (where Hickey lives) and incredible complacency leave me concerned that when Wall Street finally wises up, the result could be spectacular, as everyone rushes for the exits at once."

Hickey's largest positions are in precious metals. "With the dollar's recent troubles, gold and silver have begun another sharp leg up. I continue to hold a very large position in the gold ETF (GLD), as well a physical gold. I continue to hold a very large Newmont Mining position (the only disappointment this year in my precious metals portfolio). ... I continue to hold Pan American Silver stock and the silver ETF (SLV).

His put options currently account for 3 1/2% of my total portfolio. His put options cover: Best Buy (BBY), CDW (CDWC), SanDisk (SNDK), Texas Instruments (TXN), Lam Research (LRCX), KLA Tencor (KLAC), Nvidia (NVDA), Research in Motion (R IMM), NetLogic Microsystems (NETL), Apple Computer (AAPL), Intel (INTC), Microchip Technology (MCHP), STMicroelectronics (STM), Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), International Rectifier (IRF), Blue Coat Systems (BCSI), Motorola (MOT), Dell, Xilinx (XLNX), Applied Materials (AMAT) and Novellus (NVLS)

As a hedge against stocks you own long, it's not unreasonable to pick the most overpriced of the bunch above and buy a few put options. I'll put together a chart on the week, looking at P/Es, growth rates and some subjective view on the industry's short-term future. It should highlight two or three eggregiously overpriced. Stay away from shorting Google.

What is happiness? Yesterday's column hit a chord. Click here. Many people are striking out, trying something new. Sample email from Michael Guardabascio:

I recently started piano lessons at the tender age of sixty eight (and yes, youngsters do learn quicker and easier). These are the words to a simple tune I'm trying.

Money can't buy everything
Money can't make you a king
Money may not bring success
Money can't buy happiness
But of one thing I am sure
Money doesn't make you poor
Money doesn't make you sad
Money can't be all that bad

An old philosophy of mine: The best thing you can do for the poor is not to be one of them.

Turning us on VistaPrint. Reader Matt Bridier writes,

I can't thank you enough for turning us onto VistaPrint. We've now used them several times over on business cards and also for a few other printing jobs we've needed fast for the company. This year we are also going to use them for our holiday card, you just upload a nice photo into their templates and BOOM its done. Its nearly idiot proof, which is great for me. Very reasonable prices too and their runnings tons of holidays specials, we got 1000 bus cards for $25 delivered.

Thanks again and happy holidays!

What money can buy -- happiness and ...
A Jewish grandmother and her 14-year old grandson check into a large, expensive Miami Beach hotel. The bellman brings in 14 suitcases and asks if there's anything else he can do?

"Yes," she says, "Would you please lift my grandson out of the car and bring him up to my room?"

"Oh," says the bellman, "I'm very sorry. I didn't realize he couldn't walk."

"Oh, he can walk fine," says the grandmother. "But, thank God, he doesn't have to."

You can't always win
Sheldon tells his best friend, "Every girl I bring home, my mother doesn't like. I can't please her."

His friend replies, "Keep looking until you find a girl who looks just like your mother. Then she can't find fault with her."

Three months later, Sheldon meets his friend and says, "I did what you said. I finally found a girl just like my mother -- same heigh, same hair, same personality. She was exactly like my mother."

"So what happened?"

"My father hated her."

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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