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 Monday, February 20, 2006, Presidents' Day. Same column as Friday:

I have a small account at UBS. My UBS broker invited me to hear El Paso Corp. (EP) present yesterday at the firm's "2006 Natural Gas & Electric Utilities Conference." The setting was grand. The Hotel Pierre on Fifth Avenue. El Paso had the preferred luncheon spot. Their presentation impressed someone -- their stock rose 5.6% yesterday.

I walked out with an uncomfortable feeling. Was I listening to a presentation by a company UBS analysts liked (they said they did)? Or was I listening to presentation by a company whose UBS investment bankers were pitching? El Paso talked about a $500 million equity raise this summer. And clearly UBS (and every other I-banker in town) wanted that business.

UBS is not shy about its ambitions. They gave us attendees an impressive spiral bound booklet with facts, figures and their analysts' conclusions about natural gas and electric utilities. And there, right on the cover, was a 3 1/2" x 4" sticker with the following words:

UBS does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. Customers of UBS in the United States can receive independent, third-party research at

I checked the research. It was favorable.

The lunch was great. I met some nice people and came home with three UBS pens.

"Too fast a climb" were the words on the Yahoo! message board. And boy were they right.

The lessons:
1. There's no such thing as a long-term holding. Movements these days -- especially in hot stocks -- are too volatile. You have to watch each stock hawk-eye.
2. On pullback of the intensity as yesterday's in ORA, you have to sell. And sell instantly. And ask why later. In this case, there was no news, no rumors, nothing. Just a bunch of daytraders and hedge funds who figured ORA had risen too much, too fast.
3. It would be nice to predict the peak. But it's not possible. You could set some targets for your profits and get out when you reach them. But, with both ORA and VPRT, you would probably have guessed low.
4. The best strategy is to ride the tornado, then dump on weakness. Be happy for the profits you made.

Here's another one:

Both VistaPrint (VPRT) and Ormat Technologies (ORA) are profitable, but overpriced. I've mentioned both here. Hopefully some of you rode their tornado up and made a few shekels. Now is the time to look elsewhere, while they pull further back -- which I'm guessing they will do. El Paso, by contrast, is not profitable. And its chart shows a very different pattern:

Marrying old
At 85 years of age, Wally married Lou Anne, a lovely 25 year old.

Since her new husband was so old, Lou Anne decides that after their wedding she and Wally should have separate bedrooms. She is concerned her new aged husband may overexert himself if they spend the entire night together.

After the wedding festivities Lou Anne prepares herself for bed and the expected "knock" on the door. Sure enough the knock comes, the door opens and there is Wally, her 85 year old groom, ready for action.

They unite as one. All goes well, Wally takes leave of his bride, and she prepares to go to sleep.

After a few minutes, Lou Anne hears another knock on her bedroom door, and it's Wally. Again he is ready for more "action".

Somewhat surprised, Lou Anne consents for more coupling. When the newlyweds are done, Wally kisses his bride, bids her a fond Good Night and leaves.

She is set to go to sleep again, but, aha you guessed it - Wally is back again, rapping on the door, and is as fresh as a 25-year-old, ready for more "action". And, once again they enjoy each other.

But as Wally gets set to leave again, his young bride says to him, "I am thoroughly impressed that at your age you can perform so well and so often. I have been with guys less than a third of your age who were only good once. You are truly a great lover, Wally."

Wally, somewhat embarrassed, turns to Lou Anne and says:

........."You mean I was here already?"

Harry Newton

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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