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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 The Day after Valentines Day, Thursday, February 15, 2007: "What a load of total crap!" My wife burst in, laughing raucously. "You're so hopeless, you can't even get our wedding anniversary right. It's March 24th, not 23rd, as you had on yesterday's column. And, by the way, you can skip the flowers, chocolates, champagne and candlelight dinners. I agree. But jewelry, now that always works."

Australia is besotted with Valentine's Day, also. Everyone who's working has a superannuation retirement fund -- 9% of their annual salary goes in each year automatically. Super fund CEO, Andrew Barlow, urged Australians to dump flowers and chocolates and instead invest in their partner's super fund for Valentine's Day. Try this for twisted Australian logic. He knows less about women than I do.:

"There is no doubt that a diamond signifies a sweeping gesture and is beautiful to look at, but it won't provide the extra dollars needed to bkick up your heels and enjoy retirement," Barlow said.

He compared the value of a typical Valentine's Day gift of a diamond with that of an extra top up to a super account. According to Barlow , the value of a one carat diamond that cost $5,000 five years ago would only be worth $6,227 today. During the same period, however, if the gift of love was $5,000 towards superannuation, today it may be worth $12,167, representing an increase of 9.3 per cent per year.

Barlow suggested that in addition to the cash gift of an extra super contribution, lovers can write sentimental messages on the mirror or give an aromatherapy massage.

I thought of writing "I love you" on my wife's bathroom mirror or of lighting a stinky candle...

Yet another Valentine's Day present: From today's Wall Street Journal, "

On the first of two days of semiannual monetary policy testimony to Congress, Mr. Bernanke set investors' hearts aflutter by confirming what many had begun to surmise: that interest rates are likely to stay right where they are for a good long while. "So far, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing of core inflation," Mr. Bernanke said. Peter Kretzmer, senior economist at Bank of America, wrote that the chairman's remarks were "firm and reassuring" in their tone. Though Mr. Bernanke cautioned that the central bank is still looking out for any upward creep in core inflation and that it stands ready to increase interest rates should conditions demand it, economist Michael Feroli of J.P. Morgan Chase wrote that "the message coming from this testimony is one of a Fed that is content to not act to avert that risk for an extended period."

Building on the strongest point and percentage increases of the year yesterday for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, stocks took off as soon as Mr. Bernanke started talking. The Dow Jones industrials finished up 87.01 at 12741.86, capturing a fresh record close, and gains were broadly shared, as the Dow Jones transportation and utilities indexes also zoomed to records. The last time those three stock gauges closed at record highs on the same day was nine years ago, on March 17, 1998. Beyond the sweet performance for the sister indexes, the Nasdaq Composite Index surged 28.50 points, or 1.2%, to 2488.38, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index leaped 11.04 to 1455.30. Indeed it was difficult to track down a stock benchmark that didn't come up with some kind of crowning achievement today. Some analysts say that the market's run has wisps of grey around its temples, as it has been ages since a meaningful dip of 2% or so. But if that's a signal to stay out of the pool, buyers keep plunging in anyway. Treasury prices jumped, too, and the 10-year yield slipped to 4.731%.

Lawmakers also took the opportunity to probe Mr. Bernanke a little on matters beyond inflation and interest rates. He told the Senate panel that, despite howls of protest from policy makers in Europe, he could find no evidence Japan was keeping interest rates low in order to keep the yen at a trough relative to other world currencies for the benefit of its domestic exporters. But he said he stood by his earlier view that China's yuan policies were an "effective subsidy" to industry there. The remark was removed from a speech he made last year in Beijing, but he denied that political considerations played any role. He said he was simply trying to be clear. (Vice President Dick Cheney told manufacturing executives today that the administration had gained ground in convincing China to alter its currency regime.) In foreign-exchange trading, the dollar weakened against the euro and the yen. Mr. Bernanke also warned against any temptation to thicken regulation of hedge funds, saying the investment vehicles are nimble, and shackling them with lots of rules could undermine returns to investors.

P.S. My Vanguard index funds are doing just wonderfully. Thank you, Vanguard.

The greatest lens ever invented: Nikon's $800 18-200mm zoom.

The big pluses are twofold:
1. The very wide zoom. For most people it can happily be their only lens.
2. The vibration reduction feature. It gives you an extra four stops of sharpness. That's what Nikon says. And I agree. I've been testing the lens. This thing is magic. Your pictures will be consistently sharp.

The lens comes also in a $2,200 package along with Nikon's splendid new D200 digital SLR. If you go this route, you should also buy the $315 Nikon SB-800 flash, which lets you shoot bounce flash, hence totally avoiding red eye and the harsh lighting of direct flash. Your family will love the pictures.

For non-"professional" shots, a point and shoot camera like my highly-recommended (and much much smaller) $320 Canon SD-800 is just fine.

1099s to be late. From Brendan Smith, my brilliant accountant: "The government granted an extension to the big brokerage houses to delay releasing their 1099s until February 28." .

Stupid joke - 1:
A married couple were on holiday in Jamaica. They were touring around the marketplace looking at the goods and such, when they passed a small sandal shop. From inside they heard the shopkeeper with a Jamaican accent say, "Come into my humble shop. I have something special."

So the married couple walked in. The Jamaican said to them, "I have some special sandals I tink you would be interested in. Dey makes you wild at sex."

Well, the wife was really interested in buying the sandals after what the man claimed, but her husband felt he really didn't need them, being the Sex God that he was. The husband asked the man, "How could sandals make you a sex freak?"

The Jamaican replied, "Just try dem on, Mon."

Well, the husband, after some badgering from his wife, finally gave in and tried them on. As soon as he slipped them onto his feet, he got this wild look in his eyes, something his wife hadn't seen before!! In the blink of an eye, the husband grabbed the Jamaican, bent him over the table, yanked down his pants, ripped down his own pants, and grabbed a firm hold of the Jamaican's thighs.

The Jamaican began screaming: "You got dem on de wrong feet"!

Stupid joke - 2:
A husband walks into Victoria's Secret to purchase some sheer lingerie for his wife. He is shown several possibilities that range from $250 to $500 in price, the more sheer, the higher the price.

He opts for the most sheer item, pays the $500 and takes the lingerie home. He presents it to his wife and asks her to go upstairs, put it on and model it for him.

Upstairs, the wife thinks, "I have an idea. It's so sheer that it might as well be nothing. I won't put it on, but I'll do the modeling naked, return it tomorrow and keep the $500 refund for myself."

So she appears naked on the balcony and strikes a pose.

Her husband exclaims, "Good Lord! You'd think that for $500, they'd at least iron it!"

He never heard the shot.

Stupid joke - 3:
Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place Looking up to heaven he said, "Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!"

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."

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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