Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Thursday, February 2, 2006: Parts
of telecom are inching back. While my son no longer has a landline in his apartment
(sorry about that, Verizon), he spends a fortune on wireless voice and data
(aren't you happy, Verizon?). I'm also spending a fortune on broadband Internet
access -- cable modem in New York, DSL in my country "palace," wireless
BlackBerry, etc. As a result of our family's off-the-chart telecom spending,
companies like Broadcom (BRCM), JDS Uniphase (JDSU), Conexant Systems
(CNX) and Bookham (BKHM) are doing better, much better -- earnings
and stockwise. I'm suggesting that my new love for telecom is a supplier
play, not a carrier play, i.e. buy telecom suppliers, not telecom carriers.
Most carriers cannot get out of their own way and think innovation is M&A,
not introducing new services.
is annoyed: Reader Bruce Curley is annoyed with me because I overlooked
Energy Conversion Devices (ENER). He rebuked me: "When I told you
about it last year, it was at $14. It sold in the $50's a week ago. Its run-up
is paying for my son's tuition at the University of Maryland in mechanical
engineering." The company makes much of the alternative energy stuff
you'd think would sell like crazy, given the high price of oil -- like thin-film
solar cell (photovoltaic) products, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, hydrogen
batteries for cars, etc.. Reading the web site, you get turned on with the company's
technology. Reading the company's financials, you get less turned on. The company
recently swung to a loss and analysts expect a loss for the quarter they're
reporting on February 8. I wish I had been in the stock at $14. But at $49,
I'm less interested. I'm also somewhat afraid that the company's chief inventor,
Stanford R. Ovshinsky, is aged somewhere between 82 and death.
Change your incandescent bulbs today: "Which
planet have been you living on?" OK. That's a reasonable response to my
next recommendation: It's time to replace all your incandescent bulbs with
fluorescent ones. The economics are obvious: A 60 watt light output fluorescent
uses only 14 watts of electricity and you get a seven year life out of a fluorescent,
versus a two week life for an incandescent (in Manhattan). I bought some fluorescents
yesterday at Home Depot -- we finally have two Home Depots in Manhattan -- and
replaced a couple of bulbs this morning. My conclusions my on my new fluorescents:
+ The things come on immediately. No flickering delay like a normal fluorescent.
I was surprised.
+ The things give off a warm light, not green.
+ A 60 watt fluorescent doesn't seem to be as bright as a 60 watt incandescent.
But it depends what type of incandescent you're comparing it to. A "long-life"
incandescent will burn much less brightly, but will last longer.
+ Once the fluorescent bulb is hidden behind a frosted glass cover, my wife
will never know the difference. If she knew, she'd accuse me of turning her
palace into Motel 6 to save a miserable scheckel.
By the way, you can't put fluorescent bulbs on dimmers.
pickings in Australia for Nigerian scammers: I
know none of my readers fall for the Nigerian scam. But lots of other people,
sadly, do. This piece comes from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia:
Police are staggered
by the amount of money gullible Australians are losing to Nigerian investment
scammers. The long-running internet-based rort has netted more than $7 million
from Queenslanders alone, and the loss Australia-wide is likely to be far
higher, police say.
being duped are financial advisers, lawyers and university professors, and
one person had put $2.2 million into the hands of scammers over the past two
years. Inspector Brian Hay, from the Queensland Police Service Fraud and Corporate
Crime Group, said yesterday he would anticipate the trend being replicated
across the country.
not geographically bound by state borders - this would be everywhere,"
Insp Hay said. Other states had not yet analysed how and why people were sending
money to the west African country, Inspector Hay said. But 25 out of 26 Queensland
victims contacted by police over the past two months had lost their funds.
Lured by the
promise of a percentage of secret oil venture investments or government contracts
with guaranteed high returns, scam victims were asked for money to bribe local
officials and secure lucrative contracts.
25 people we have spoken to so far, there is only one person that we would
feel confident has been party to a legitimate transaction," Inspector
blown away. We didn't expect this." Inspector Hay said financial advisers,
lawyers and university professors were among those who have sent large sums
of money overseas, some of them several times.
start paying and paying and paying," he said.
One person had
put $2.2 million into the hands of scammers over the last two years.
to urge the public to exercise extreme caution in replying to the emails after
they yesterday stopped $250,000 leaving the country for Nigeria. But the Queensland
victims were only "the tip of the iceberg", Inspector Hay said.
The same scam was siphoning money to other west African countries and to fraudulent
operations in western nations, including Britain and the United States.
greedy US investors were losing an estimated $1 million a day to Nigerian
scammers, he said. People should beware of emails promising quick riches for
little effort. "It's the same old story ... if it looks too good to be
true, it usually is."
A woman didn't come home one night.
The next day she told her husband that she had slept over at a girlfriend's
The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about
A man didn't come home one night.
The next day he told his wife that he had slept over at a buddy's house.
The woman called her husband's 10 best friends.
Eight of them confirmed that he had slept over. Two claimed he was still there.
Funny: When I ran a spellchecker on today's
column, JDSU came up as a mistake. The spellchecker suggested "Jesus."
+ Munich, the movie. A must-see. Click
+ Identity Theft precautions. Click
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click
+ All turned on by biotech. Click
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available:
Click here. The full audio is available. Click
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click
+ When to sell stocks. Click
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
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