Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor.

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9:00 AM EST, Tuesday, January 20, 2009: Inauguration Day. Obama's acceptance speech will start at 11:46 AM this morning and run 17 minutes. One of his cute daughters told him to "keep it short." He will. The timing comes from my friend in TV.

I got flack from readers about last Friday's column on investing lessons, namely

+ Stick with what you know.

+ Put the savings from your first love into the safest investment -- muni bonds or treasuries. Reinvest the interest.

+ Don't borrow anything.

+ Anything and everything hot today will be cold tomorrow.

+ When in doubt, stay out.

+ Every investment you make requires accounting, tax forms and time beyond anyone's imagination.

+ Don't believe anything your friends tell you.

+ Stop eyeing your friends with jealousy.

+ All the panoply of securities "regulation" (both government and exchange self-enforced) is nonsense.

+You can be protected from your own greed -- if you learn to say NO.

Readers argued that this was not the perfect investment, but the "perfectly safe investment." I don't deny that. In today's uncertain world, I'm going after safety and avoiding equities. I remain fearful of what the Economist refers to as manufacturing worldwide "Accelerating Downhill."

Five things have gotten to me this morning:

1. Escalating unemployment. Circuit City's liquidation cost 34,000 people their jobs. That's a huge number. It's not typical. But it's happening throughout the economy. I figure the real unemployment rate is already above 10% and will soon hit 15%.

2. Skyrocketing costs of corporate borrowing. Southwest Airlines is paying 10.5% -- nearly double the rate it had paid in 2004. Nabors Industries is paying 9.25% versus 6.15% it paid a year ago. That's for companies that can get loans. Those who can't (and there are many) are cutting employment, canceling plans and selling assets.

3. China's growth is slowing dramatically. I rue this Bloomberg headline, "Zero Growth in China Is 2009 Black Swan Event: William Pesek." For more, click here.

4. Hard to predict Government moves. The TARP failed to get the economy going and loans flowing. It rewarded incompetent banks and gave competent banks a bonus they didn't deserve (nor, in many cases, want). Bank stocks still fell. Who can predict what the new Washington is going to do next? Yet, it's clear Washington -- above every other factor -- is presently steering the ship called U.S.S. Economy.

5, Most stocks are overvalued. The Journal this morning has a piece discussing with Circuit City's liquidation, one guesses that Best Buy is a best buy. Wrong. The Journal figures it's not a best buy, yet. Its shares trade at 13 times next fiscal year's expected earnings. Personally I figure they should be trading with a P/E in the single digits to make the stock semi-attractive. For the Journal's piece.

But for those of you who are keen to take a little money and gamble, I refer you to Jim Kingsdale's excellent stock recommendations from Friday's column.

Bargains at Circuit City? It was in Chapter 11, but couldn't find a recovery solution. It's now in Chapter 7 where its inventory is being liquidated as fast as possible. You may be able to find some bargains in your local Circuit City. But you may not. A reader , Tim Jebara writes this morning:

Harry be careful of Circuit City deals, on a few things they cut prices 5-10% but they marked them up to MSRP. So you might think you're saving a lot on that TV, but it maybe cheaper at Best Buy. The best deals will be had in February and early March.

I have had bad experience in the past from Comp USA’s liquidation. They raise all the products prices and then discount to trick the consumer. A lot of people fall for it, and it's worse when they get a liquidator, as Circuit City has now. Here are two articles on it. It’s good they're closing, another example of poor customer services, and financial kids thinking they can treat a retail operation as if it’s a financial company, with little regard to customers. Here are a couple of articles, "Circuit City Closeout Deals Aren't Deals at all." AndCircuit City closings begin, lines form, bargains await.

Australian Open Tennis began this weekend. The huge time difference makes this ideal for TiVo. Enjoy. (M Men, W = Women, D = Doubles. All times EST.)

Secrets of life -- part 1
During a commercial airline flight an Air Force Pilot was seated next to a young mother with a baby in arms. When the baby began crying during the descent for landing, the mother began nursing the infant as discreetly as possible.

The pilot pretended not to notice and, upon disembarking, he gallantly offered his assistance to help with the various baby-related impedimenta.

When the young mother expressed her gratitude, the pilot responded, "Gosh, that's a good looking baby...and he sure was hungry!"

Somewhat embarrassed, the mother explained that her pediatrician said nursing would help alleviate the pressure in the baby's ears.

The Air Force Pilot sadly shook his head, and in true pilot fashion exclaimed, "And all these years, I've been chewing gum."

Secrets of life -- part 2
A mortician was working late one night. He examined the body of Mr. Schwartz, about to be cremated, and made a startling discovery. Schwartz had the largest private part he had ever seen!

"I'm sorry Mr. Schwartz," the mortician commented, "I can't allow you to be cremated with such an impressive private part. It must be saved for posterity." So, he removed it, stuffed it into his briefcase, and took it home

"I have something to show you won't believe," he said to his wife, opening his briefcase.

"My God!" the wife exclaimed, "Schwartz is dead!"

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.