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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.

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9:00 AM EST Thursday, July 17, 2008: A glimmer of hope? Or a beartrap rally? Yesterday the Dow rose 2.5%; Nasdaq rose 3.1% and the S&P 500 rose 2.5%. Personally I think the one-day rally means beans (i.e. zip) -- though apparently we're getting another one today.

Nobody knew what caused yesterdays' bounce, nor does anyone care. But everyone felt good, except for a few short sellers. I watched Lehman shoot up, panicked and closed my short just before the end of the day. I can't imagine some schmuck offering $25 a share to buy Lehman or someone actually buying the stock. But stranger things have happened. As a wise person once said, nobody ever went broke taking a handsome profit -- which I did yesterday on my Lehman shorts.

The Big Search is finding a safe place for $95,000. Yesterday's search yielded the Park Avenue Bank, a tiny bank with no exposure to subprime. They're paying a whopping 4.75% on a 90-day CD. They were pushing this only for $100,000 and up, but -- this will blow you away -- they agreed to pay the 4.75% on $95,000. What a wonderful feeling. To be able to talk to the head of retail banking -- Matt Morris -- on his cell phone and get him to agree instantly to the $95,000. Imagine getting that decision out of a Chase or a Citibank. No wonder that all Matt's friends in hedge funds, who had previously derided him for joining a tiny bank, are now flocking to him in admiration of his superior intelligence. You don't need Matt to get the deal. Go to 350 Park Avenue before six today (or anytime before the end of the month) and ask for Mercedes or Anthony. Morris told me his bank didn't need the monies flooding in. He did the 4.75% promotion because he wanted to "improve his bank's branding."

Giving Matt ( your money is a lot better than giving the Feds your monies. Their miserable returns are:
30 day 1.38%; 60 day 1.40%; 90 day 1.41% and one year 2.10%. With the Feds you don't pay state and city tax, but you do pay federal tax. At the end of the year, you end up with less than the markets rose yesterday!

I suspect that the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity today is to open up a nice new bank (get your friends together) and advertise "We're safe; We're friendly; We're reachable; We listen and We can make decisions." Sounds like Park Avenue Bank.

If Park Avenue Bank didn't exist, I think we might be back to

Thanks to Montreal reader Roland Leger for the Photoshop work which improved my previous logo:

The economy is awful. NO. Getting fired is a plus. It forces you to open the business you always wanted, but had delayed because it was "risky." Items:

1. Working for yourself is far less risky than working for solid companies, like Bear Stearns, or UBS. A friend retired two years ago, with oodles of UBS options -- now all under water. He kicks himself for not shorting UBS, and hence protecting his options.

2. Everyone is sick of dealing with large, horrible, bureaucratic companies, who hate their customers. Don't believe me? Check how few web sites have management's email addresses, or God forbid, their phone numbers.

3. It's much easier to get to customers these days. You can put up a handsome web site in less than a day and for less than $20 a month. Google ads will find you customers -- much cheaper and faster than advertising in your local newspaper or yellow pages.

A friend gave his mother a web site for her birthday recently. It will promote her landscaping business. Where easier to show all her accomplishments than a portfolio of handsome garden photos on a web site?

A web site that captures email addresses will build you a free prospect/customer list. Emailing deals and offers is cheap and easy. I'm not the only person in the world who likes junk email and actually buys stuff from it. Yesterday I bought a $260 Samsung 22" monitor from because they emailed me. I checked their site today. They now have them for under $200.

Politician ordered to anger counseling
CANBERRA (Reuters) - An Australian politician who told a pregnant rival that her baby could be born a demon was ordered to seek anger counseling recently after a string of allegations about her caustic behavior.

I don't make this stuff up.

My new yacht, I wish. From today's New York Times:

Boaters in the Baltic Sea this past spring spotted a strange ship slicing through the waters off Kiel, Germany.

The 390-foot vessel, sheathed in white, had a knifelike hull and a three-story, bulbous watchtower. Some guessed it was a radar-deflecting warship, given its smooth lines and wraparound tinted windows. Others speculated that it was submersible.

The boat's only identifying marker was a single letter emblazoned on the stern: "A."

Motor Yacht A, its official name, is actually a private yacht built for Andrey Melnichenko, the 36-year-old Russian billionaire industrialist. While Mr. Melnichenko has done his best to keep the boat a secret, A is already making waves in the yachting world and becoming a public symbol of Russian wealth gone wild.

While longer than a football field, A barely ranks among the 10 largest private yachts in the world, trailing just behind Octopus, the 416-footer owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The cost -- at least $300 million -- is also not a record. Eclipse, the unfinished yacht of fellow Russian Roman Abramovich, is more than 500 feet long and cost at least $100 million more. Mr. Melnichenko's boat, at cruising speed, burns about 691 gallons of diesel fuel per hour. (At $5.50 a gallon, that's $3,800 an hour. -- HN)

The reason A is stirring up the boat world is its radical design. Created by Philippe Starck, the superstar French designer of lemon squeezers and luxury hotels, A is a deliberate slap in the face to an industry known for its classic conformity.

Instead of a fat hull, supporting many levels of open-air dining areas, wet bars and sun decks, A is streamlined and largely enclosed -- more like a space helmet than a floating palace. The bow slopes like a monster pontoon away from the boat instead of toward it. While common for warships of the early 20th century -- and allowing A to create little or no splash at 24 knots -- the design is unusual in modern megayachts.

"A is aggressive, like a giant finger pointing at you," says Donald Starkey, a leading British yacht designer. "It seems to have nothing to do with the whole idea of yachting, which is about cruising around at a leisurely pace, and enjoying your friends and the sea."

Adds Jonathan Beckett, CEO of the yacht-brokerage firm Burgess: "A boat like this has never been done before, and it will probably never be done again."

A's interior breaks even more rules. According to people who worked on the boat, A's rooms are outfitted with cream-colored leather walls and stainless-steel fixtures -- a departure from mahogany, gold and bronze. Its six guest suites can be transformed by movable walls to create four larger suites. Stainless-steel whirlpool baths are showcased at the center of several of the rooms.

Mr. Melnichenko's oversized bed, perched at the top of the tower, rotates on a giant turntable (with built-in entertainment systems) to give him better views out of the panoramic windows. Along with its two swimming pools -- one in the front and one in back -- A sports a helipad, a hovercraft and a garage for the owner's car. The ship, which has a crew of 35, has more than 100 audio speakers, and more than a dozen plasma TV screens, many of which are disguised as mirrors. Guests in any of the rooms can watch DVDs from a centralized library of more than 2,000 titles.

Security is tight. Doors are unlocked by electronic finger pads and guests can't gain access to the owner's suite or control rooms. The hull is outfitted with spotlights and motion sensors....

The gas crisis
Sister Mary Ann, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it, an Exxon Gasoline station was just a block away.

She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but she could wait until it was returned. Since Sister Mary Ann was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car.

She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, Sister Mary Ann carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said, 'If it starts, I'm turning Catholic.'

I have no idea why I think this is funny
A man boarded a plane with six kids.

After they got settled in their seats a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked, "Are all those kids yours?"

He replied, "No. I work for a condom company. They are customer complaints."

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.

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