Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Thursday, January 27, 2005: There's
a wonderful interview with R. James Woolsey, former CIA director, in the latest
Esquire. In it, he says, "If you're enthusiastic about the things
you're working on, people will come ask you to do interesting things."
When I left Australia in 1967, my boss said I would love the Americans, because,
just like me, they substituted enthusiasm for intelligence. Initially I thought
it was your typical condescending statement about Yanks. It wasn't. He meant it
sincerely. Thirty eight years later I realize how profound that statement really
is. Now I realize that the joy I get each day comes from those things I get excited
by. And each day I try to maximize those enthusiasms. Why do I write these columns?
Why do I seek investments? Why do I seek new technologies? Why do I play tennis?
Why do I watch tennis? Why do I read so extensively? They're things I love and
enjoy. Some of these things are significant. Some are not. They all make my juices
So few of people get emotionally turned on, I wonder where life left them. I'm
not trying to be critical or preaching this morning. I'm trying to figure a little
of it out in my brain. Once I ran a large company and there was huge daily pleasure
there. The enthusiasm for our "Vision" was contagious. People bounced
off the walls.
Now I'm "retired," pleasures are more diverse. This wonderful picture
caused this train of thinking. Here's a lone woman in Hull on the coast of Massachusetts
feeding birds after this weekend's huge snow. Somehow you can feel the pleasure
she's getting. Am I crazy?
A woman feeds the birds in Hull, MA after a big snowfall.
What will all
of us do today to feed the birds?
where for the stockmarket in 2005? This comes from respected Don
Hahn economist/analyst of Mesirow Financial: "Determining the market
outlook this year is even more difficult than usual, especially in comparison
to 2003 and 2004 when there was a preponderance of bullish evidence. ... We
think stock prices may advance for a third straight year, but the odds are only
55/45. Our indecisiveness involves timing. In aggregate the monetary/economic
and internal supply/demand indicators, although currently satisfactory, are
in the process of transitioning from strong to weak. In all likelihood, the
price averages will continue to trend higher until these measures exhibit additional
deterioration. If so, the market might perform well for part of the year, with
the Dow moving above 11,000. ...
This mildly optimistic outlook is, however, restrained by several considerations.
First, as was true a year-ago, the secondary trend gauges were feeble as 2005
commenced. Last year this condition was eventually adjusted by an extended period
of sideward-to-moderately lower prices. We would be surprised if the same relatively
painless corrective process occurs again in 2005. Second, the presidential election
cycle has now entered a period when the stock market has historically proven
to be its most vulnerable. ... Third, as noted in our December report (2005
Preview), SMC expects combined 2005-2006 equity returns to be only slightly
positive or even negative This implies that sometime during the coming two years
a traditional bear cycle will unfold. By our definition, this would consist
of a minimum 15% to 20% setback lasting at least several months In summary,
SMC is currently warily bullish. Dark clouds are visible on the
horizon, but the storm does not yet appear imminent. Our advice to portfolio
managers under these conditions is to become increasingly selective, emphasize
quality issues, not be reluctant to book profits and, above all, not get caught
up in the bullish hype that will be widespread when the market is in an advancing
eat humble pie: Apollo Investment (AINV) hit $17. When it
first came out, I panned it. What it lacked in investments, it more than made
up for in 6% sales charges (or $58 million).. But Apollo got its act together,
invested its billion dollars or so... and started making some money. On August
9, it closed at $13.15. On August 10, I wrote, "I wouldn't touch this stock
for all the money in China." I was wrong. That was its low. ... And isn't
that the point of investing? A stock you hate at one price ($15) is worth buying
How Apollo moved since its IPO last Spring.
Yet another Nigerian scam: This email came in yesterday. It's another Nigerian
I AM THE STAFF OF ECO BANK OF NIGERIA .I HAPPEN TO BE AN ACCOUNTING OFFICER
TO ONE OF OUR GOOD CUSTOMERS IN THE BANK WHO DEPOSITED THE SUM OF US$12.5M WITH
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS CLIENT DR. MOHAMMED GALAL,WHO WAS AMONG THE VICTIMS OF EGYPT
AIR BOEING 767.FLIGHT NO 990 THAT CRASHED ON THE 2/11/1999 IN UNITED STATES
SINCE THEN, I HAVE MADE SEVERAL ENQUIRIES TO THEIR EMBASSY HERE TO LOCATE ANY
OF HIS EXTENDED RELATIVES, BUT TO NO AVAIL, AFTER ALL THESE UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS
TO LOCATE HIS RELATIVES.
I DECIDED TO GATHER ALL HIS RELEVANT BIODATAS AND ALSO KEPT HIS FILE IN AN EXCLUSIVE
VAULT FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES HAVING MONITORED AND MANAGED HIS DEPOSIT OVER YEARS
BEFORE HIS DEATH.
THIS FUND HAS ALMOST REACHED A POINT WHERE THE BANK MIGHT DECIDE ON WHAT TO
DO WITH THE FUNDS AS UNSERVICED ACCOUNT. HENCE MY DECISION TO CONTACT YOU FOR
TWO MAIN REASONS, (1)TO ASSIST IN REPATRIATING THE SUM OF $12.5M LEFT BEHIND
BY MY CLIENT BEFORE IT GETS CONFISCATED OR DECLARED UNSERVICEABLE BY THE MANAGEMENT
OF INTERNATIONAL BANK.
(2)I HAVE ALSO CONTACTED YOU TO ACT AS A RELATIVE(NEXT OF KIN)TO THE DESEASED
AND APPLY FOR THE RELEASE OF THE MONEY TO ANY ACCOUNT YOU MAY PROVIDE SINCE
THE BANK HAS BEEN EXPECTING THE NEXT OF KIN OF THE DESEASED TO COME FORWARD
FOR THE MONEY LEFT BEHIND BY THE DESEASED.
BE ASSURED ONCE AGAIN.THAT SINCE I AM AT THE BACKGROUND AND HAVE ALL THE BASIC
INFORMATION REQUIRED TO BACK UP THE CLAIM,THE PROCEEDS OF THE DESEASED ACCOUNT
WILL BE TRANSFERED INTO YOUR NOMINATED BANK ACCOUNT THEN I AND YOU WILL SHARE
THE MONEY BASED ON OUR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND AGREEMENT.
AS YOU INDICATE YOUR DEVOTED WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST IN THIS DIMENSION, SEND ME
YOUR DIRECT TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBER FOR EASY COMMUNICATION AND CONTACT ME ON
Private Email: email@example.com THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION, YOURS
FAITHFULLY, MR.BUKE JOHNSON"
Third World War
At the Russian War College, a general is a guest lecturer and tells
the class of officers that the session will focus on potential problems and
the resulting strategies.
One of the officers in the class begins by asking the first question, "Will
we have to fight in a World War Three?"
"Yes, comrades, it looks like you will," answers the general.
"And who will be our enemy, Comrade General?" another officer asks.
"The likelihood is that it will be China."
The class is surprised, and finally one officer asks, "But Comrade General,
we are 150 million people and they are about 1.5 billion. How can we possibly
"Well," replies the general, "Think about it. In modern war,
it is not the quantity, but the quality that is the key. For example, in the
Middle East, 5 million Jews have been fighting against 300 million Arabs, and
the Jews have been the winners every time."
"But sir," asks the panicky officer, "Do we have enough Jews?"
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 .
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