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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 Thursday, February 21, 2008:
Why Nuveen, Blackrock, Eaton Vance, Evergreen, Allianz Global, John Hancock Advisors, MFS, Van Kampen, Pimco, Gabelli and Calamos are collectively committing suicide is beyond my tiny brain. Yesterday I heard a lot of "Mr. Newton, we are thinking about a solution" to your $4.5 million of presently valueless auction rate securities. Yesterday, I watched more auctions fail. But I didn't hear any "Do not worry. We will redeem your securities."

These firms are giving irresponsibility a whole new meaning.

No one denies these things were sold as cash. No one denies there's billions of dollars in these things slotted for April 15 taxes, deal closing, housing purchases, etc. No one denies the only people who are likely to get rich out of all this are the lawyers assembling their class action suits.

I used to run a real business. If my customers had complained as loudly as I did to Nuveen yesterday, I would have been embarrassed, hurt, upset and figured a way to solve the customer's problem. The customer is king, and all that. When I solved the customer's problem, I would have achieved a customer for life. Not Nuveen. They are doing everything possible to lose as many clients as possible and attract as many law suits as fast as possible.

I don't like money market funds: Yesterday I wrote about my fear of money market funds. It's amazing how many people think money market funds are FDIC-insured. They're not. It's amazing how many people don't know that most money market funds have their interest rates juiced up with junk bonds. End of story.

Save. Save. Save. This column is late (and short) this morning because my erstwhile super-reliable Windows XP locked up. And in my enthusiasm for all the brilliance I was writing, I had forgotten to hit F2, the button that saves my work. I lost the entire column. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Save your work every two minutes.

If you didn't read yesterday column on auction rate securities and money market funds, you need to. Click here.

The Furniture Dealer
A furniture dealer from Knoxville, Tennessee, decided that he wanted to expand the line of furniture in his store, so he went to Paris to see what he could find. After arriving in Paris (this being his first trip to the French capital), he met with some manufacturers and finally selected a line he thought would sell well back home in Tennessee.

To celebrate the new acquisition, he decided to visit a small bistro and have a glass of wine. Before long, a very beautiful young Parisian woman came to his table, asked him something in French (which he did not understand), and motioned toward the chair.

He invited her to sit down. He tried to speak to her in English, but she did not speak his language so, after a couple of minutes of trying to communicate with her, he took a napkin and drew a picture of a wine glass and showed it her. She nodded, and he ordered a glass of wine for her.

After sitting together at the table for a while, he took another napkin, and drew a picture of a plate with food on it, and she nodded. They ordered dinner, after which he took another napkin and drew a picture of a couple dancing. She nodded, and they got up to dance. They danced until the cafe closed and the band was packing up.

Back at their table, the young lady took a napkin and drew a picture of a four-poster bed.

To this day, he has no idea how she figured out he was in the furniture business.

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.

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