Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
9:00 AM EST, Thursday, February 26, 2009. The
best news is the doomsday scenario -- runaway inflation as a result of runaway
money printing -- hasn't happened, at least yet. We still have deflation.
Today's financial new is ultra-depressing -- lead by GM's huge $9.6 billion
loss, depressing earnings and more joblessness. I'm hopeful that execs are
loading all their bad news into the December '08 quarter. So it will look
better going foward.
of the reasons to be depressed about direct government aid to corporations
is that it produces the behavior you'd expect -- more pleading for more money
-- viz., AIG, GM, Citigroup, etc. etc.
lady is Dambisa
Her new book
is "Dead Aid." It attacks Western aid to Africa. In Sunday's
New York Times interview:
Q: What do
you think has held back Africans?
A: I believe
its largely aid. You get the corruption historically, leaders
have stolen the money without penalty and you get the dependency, which
kills entrepreneurship. You also disenfranchise African citizens, because
the government is beholden to foreign donors and not accountable to its people.
last safe bet: Treasurys are still the world's go-to investment.
Last week's surprisingly successful Treasury auctions attracted plenty of
buyers, including foreigners. Luo Ping, director general at the China Banking
Regulatory Commission, told a conference last week, "Except for U.S.
Treasurys, what else can you hold?" China, the No. 1 foreign investor
in Treasurys, the next day clarified that of course it had plenty else to
buy, but it is clearly in no hurry to do so. -- Wall Street Journal, February
17. (I'm catching up on reading.)
goes real estate in New York's erstwhile hot Hamptons? From my
man on the ground, who once was a developer out there. "Houses that use
to fetch $7 million two years ago, are being listed now for $4 million, but
are only attracting bids of $2 million at present."
to save on your real estate taxes. Some towns
offer 65 year-old pluses a discount on their local taxes. A friend recently
saved nearly $3,000 simply by asking.
and hold? No. Investors who bought at market crests in 1929 and
1965 had to wait 19 years each time just to break even. -- Jeremy Grantham.
in energy businesses and new career opportunities:
+ $20 billion in the stimulus bill in target at improving the efficiency
of government buildings and the homes of poor people. For more, today's
New York Times.
+ Installing solar panels.
home without it. American Express is offering a $300 gift card
to certain account holders if they agree to pay off their balances and close
their accounts. Now there's a real reason to open an Amex account.
dislike Forbes magazine. From the January 12 issue:
"The new year should find the U.S. firmly pulling out of the recession
by spring and Washington finally putting an end to the credit crisis."
-- Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief.
"Bailout bonds. You're sending your tax money to them, so not get a
little back? Bill Gross (of Pimco fame) says the yields on these bailout
issuers are safe and too high to resist." -- American General Finance,
AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, Fannie Mae, International Lease Finance
lend your friends money. I have twice. Result:
pain and more pain. One loan is still outstanding, despite promises of a November
repayment. My money went to pay off his son's margin call.
one is it?
Cashier for a Boston supermarket express checkout line to a young
customer with too many items: "Are you from MIT and can't read or from
Harvard and can't count?"
New Yorker cartoons:
The logic of government contracting.
Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence. One is from
New York, another is from Tennessee and the third is from Florida. All three
examine the fence.
contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some
figures with a pencil. 'Well,' he says, 'I figure the job will run about $900:
$400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.'
contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, 'I can do this
job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.'
The New York
contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official
and whispers, '$2,700.'
incredulous, says, 'You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you
come up with such a high figure?'
The New York
contractor whispers back, '$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the
guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.'
the government official.
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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