Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM Friday, January 6, 2006: Wait
till you see the variation in performance for my money managers for 2005. It's
all over the place. The worst one, so far, is Private Capital Management
who somehow believed there was hidden value in newspaper stocks and dumped too
much of my money into ailing newspapers. They may still be right -- but my gut
says NO. Results coming shortly.
Insite Vision is holding over $1, on its way to $1.50.
I spent most of yesterday on my other job -- editing Newton's Telecom Dictionary,
now going into its 22nd edition. Hard work.
Give me brilliance. Give me luck. I'll take luck any day. Who knew a
dictionary I planned to write one rainy weekend could sell over $20 million!
Who knew, I, who hated English at school, would ever grow up to write a best-selling
The more you try, the more chances you have of something turning out BIG. But
you got to keep trying. And try everywhere. Diversification remains the only
to save money on Internet buys: There are a
bunch of web sites that will do comparison shopping for you -- from Google's
Froogle to PriceGrabber. PC World Magazine comparison shopped the comparison
shoppers and gave its highest rating to PriceRunner.
Price differences can be significant. I checked my beloved Canon SD450. It ranged
in price from $283 to $379. Froogle
found the camera for $245 to $779. PriceGrabber
found prices between $283 and $379. These are huge spreads. Before you buy,
check the merchants' ratings and additional charges -- largely tax and shipping.
finance charges are appearing on my credit cards: Beware.
One set of charges (around 3%) stems from purchases my wife and daughter made
for clothes in Australia, when Qantas lost their suitcases for a week. Another
set of charges mysteriously appeared on my American Express Blue Cash credit
card -- the one that allegedly gives you a 5% or so cash rebate. These charges
appeared despite my not being late. I've stopped using this card, since the
bills I get no longer conform to their advertising:
I've yet to see a nickel back from my any purchases on my American Express Blue
Cash card. Surprise. Surprise.
Hefty bullying by car rental companies: We
rented a piece of junk for our Colorado skiing trip in December. Alamo's aggressive
agent pummeled us for ten minutes to buy extra insurance. That extra insurance
would have doubled the price of the car. We resisted. We made sure Alamo
knew of the dents and dings on the car. In the end everything worked out just
fine. We paid the original price, not a penny more. I suspect that rental car
companies and credit card companies now make more money in the finance business.
We were also told that our piece of junk wouldn't make it into the mountains
and we needed an SUV more than twice the price. We resisted that pitch also.
Our car made it just fine -- though it was a piece of junk, the cheapest Alamo
is freezing its workers US pension plans: It will save billions.
Other companies (like Verizon) are doing the same. IBM is beefing up its 401(k)
savings plans. There are three lessons:
1. If you work for a monster, don't ever expect it will take care of you when
2. Your 401(k) savings will be an important lifeline. It's very important to
spend the time to check where and how it's invested. You don't want it heavily
invested in your company's stock. You don't want it invested in garbage Dreyfus
funds that lose money -- I speak from experience.
3. Your kids need to think self-reliance early. They need to start investing
early. They need to be well diversified. You need to explain this to your kids.
Keep nagging until they get it. You are master of your own destiny. No one else
will take care of you.
XM Satellite radio really works:
Alamo's car had XM Satellite radio. Crystal clear reception. Most of the 200
or so channels seemed to feature "music" whose lyrics you couldn't
understand. If you travel far by car each day, satellite radio may make sense.
But get a trial first. Personally I prefer the songs on my iPod.
is truly awful
A vet made a house call to a woman who was
having a problem with her birdie. When he got there he found that the birdie
was lying on his back, with his feet sticking up stiffly, and his eyes shut.
'He's dead,' said the vet.
'No, he can't be,' said the woman. 'He was singing, and talking to me, and eating
his seed just a little while ago. I want a second opinion.'
'Okay,' said the vet, and called over the cat, who was grooming herself on the
sofa. The cat put his paw in the cage and batted the birdie.
'He's dead,' said the cat.
'Nonsense!' said the woman.
'Okay,' said the vet, 'let's ask the dog.'
The Labrador was lying asleep in the sun. He dutifully padded over to the cage,
poked his nose in and sniffed the birdie.
'He's dead,' said the dog.
The woman sadly accepted that it was so, and the vet handed her a bill and prepared
'$450!' cried the woman. 'That's outrageous!'
'Well,' said the vet, 'that includes my diagnosis, the cat scan and the lab
The end of life
A man and his wife were sitting in the living room
and he said to her,
you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine
and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."
His wife got up,
unplugged the TV, and threw out all of his beer.
+ Munich, the movie. A must-see. Click
+ Identity Theft precautions. Click
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click
+ All turned on by biotech. Click
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available:
Click here. The full audio is available. Click
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click
+ When to sell stocks. Click
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
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