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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, July 19: Wall Street is hoping the Fed will begin to lower interest rates. This will make it cheaper for you and I, and businesses to borrow, thus boosting profits and stock prices. It's not happening soon. The Fed is obsessed with inflation -- that's actually its key mandate (aka obsession). It's spooked by possible inflation from stuff like high energy prices and a tight labor market (i.e. too many of us demanding a raise).

Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress yesterday:

"With the level of resource utilization relatively high and with a sustained moderation in inflation pressures yet to be convincingly demonstrated, the FOMC has consistently stated that upside risks to inflation are its predominant policy concern."

The disappointment over no early interest won't affect the good earnings news. That will determine share prices far more than fantasizing over interest drops.

Oops. My son's Excel brilliance needs help: I forgot to mention yesterday that, to get the IRR function working in Excel, you need to install the Analysis ToolPak. It's free, but Microsoft doesn't load it into Excel out of the box. (Don't ask why, because I don't know why.) Read further. Click here. Go back to yesterday's column and follow the bouncing ball. The IRR (internal rate of return) function in Excel is the best investment tool ever created. Trust me.

Catastrophe health insurance:
My concept: I pay for everything until I get hit by a bus, or like. I asked readers for advice. Sample responses. (This is an ongoing research project). Emai me if you can help.

From Don Cummins:

"I have a health management account with Golden Rule, $10,000 great."

I did some Internet checking on this. The page is "Heath Plans with High Deductibles." Read it here.

From Harry Chernoff:
"I use one hospital & affiliated docs in my area for all major elective things. I asked my internist to ask the hospital how much of a discount could I get if I had a pre-arranged agreement to pay cash for everything and not use insurance for anything. He said the hospital president said they could do about a 30% discount. I recently had some significant procedures and I checked what the usual insurance disallowance was and it was about 30%. I confirmed this with a third party. You may want to ask about the same thing.

I expect to lose health insurance coverage in less than two years and I may go this route. I will be checking with the hospital insurance people about details and about catastrophic coverage next Thursday. I’ll let you know if I get anything new."

From Charles McChesney: And this is a theme I'm hearing: Negotiate for discounts. His Aetna plan supplements Medicare.
"This (Aetna) plan negotiates incredible discounts of about 40-65% on lab tests (at Quest, no less) and similar discounts from physicians. If you have no insurance, YOU pay the full price."

From Dan Critchett:
"Try Blue-Cross Blue-Shield for catastrophe insurance. While self-employed, I paid only $85 a month for hospitalization, accident, surgery, and other similar risk coverage."

Travel and shopping abroad is not cheap: The American dollar has fallen into the toilet, making hotels and things like food overseas extraordinarily expensive. $10 for a glass of Coke, etc. This may not be the summer for European travel. Croatia is cheap. Alaska ain't bad, either.

One dumb idiot:
Dow Jones Director Faces Civil Charges:

The Securities and Exchange Commission intends to file civil charges against Dow Jones director David Li in connection with an unfolding insider-trading case. Mr. Li, chairman and chief executive of Bank of East Asia, has received a notice indicating that the SEC plans to recommend filing civil charges against him. As a Dow Jones board member he is often privy to inside information and is connected through business and social relationships to a family member of the Hong Kong couple whom the SEC charged this year with insider trading of Dow Jones shares. The SEC filed civil charges against Kan King Wong and his wife, Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung, in May They bought 415,000 Dow Jones shares two weeks before Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion takeover offer for the company became public. The Dow Jones board of directors voted to approve Mr. Murdoch's bid last night. Final approval hinges on the Bancroft family.

What would you have done? Randy Cohen writes a column called "The Ethicist." Here's the question:

Years ago when I confirmed a new patient’s pregnancy, she burst into tears. Her husband had had a vasectomy; her pregnancy was a result of a brief affair; she would not consider abortion. She begged me to keep her secret for the sake of her children and marriage. When unexpectedly confronted by her husband, I lied, saying his vasectomy must have failed. The marriage survived, and I believe my lie was justified. Was it

Stop. Don't read further. Think. What would you have done? Lie or... ? Here's Randy's answer:

Ordinarily, there would be no opportunity to lie. Medical ethics compels you to preserve a patient’s — in this case, the wife’s — privacy (even if, as I do, you think your patient was wrong to deceive her husband). Certainly you would not have dropped by the house to set the guy straight.

But a quick decision was forced on you. And while your motives were admirable, you should not have lied, as I suspect you know: that’s why this has stayed with you.

Your lie deprived the husband of important information about the child he would be expected to raise. (What if you inspired him to sue the physician who performed his vasectomy?) And what of the child’s interest in an honest account of his or her parentage? And has the biological father no standing here?

Your well-intentioned lie furthered the couple’s building a life together on a falsehood. If the husband’s suspicions returned, he could have gotten a blood test. Or the truth might have come out through gossip, a medical emergency or the boyfriend’s reappearance. If the husband was angry that day, think how he might feel later.

Instead, you should have gently but firmly put the husband off and helped your patient think through the implications of dishonesty. She might have persisted in her deception, and the physician who performed the vasectomy might have abetted her lie, but that is beyond your control.

China continues to explode: From Bloomberg:

China's economy grew at the fastest pace in 12 years in the second quarter and inflation there surged, prompting speculation the government will allow quicker currency appreciation and raise interest rates. Growth was powered by investment in factories and real estate, funded by record exports, that the government has been unable to cool with two rate increases this year and restrictions on bank lending.

One tough crane:

Another piece of perfect logic:
A man wonders if having sex on the Sabbath is a sin because he is not sure if sex is work or play. So he goes to a Priest and asks for his opinion on this question.

After consulting the Bible, the Priest says, " My son, after an exhaustive search, I am positive that sex is work and is therefore not permitted on Sundays."

The man thinks: " What does a priest know about sex?" So he goes to a Minister, who after all is a married man and experienced in this matter. He queries the Minister and receives the same reply. Sex is work and therefore not for the Sabbath! Not pleased with the reply, he seeks out the ultimate authority: a man of thousands of years tradition and knowledge.

He goes to a Rabbi. The Rabbi ponders the question, then states, " My son, sex is definitely play."

The man replies, "Rabbi, how can you be so sure when so many others tell me sex is work?"

The Rabbi softly speaks, "If sex were work, my wife would have the maid do it ."

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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty 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 Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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