Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST Thursday, July 20, 2006: Nice
bounce yesterday. Thank you, Mr. Bernanke. Good time today to dump those stocks
you may not want to own going into a weak second half year. Will it be weak?
My sense is yes. But your prediction is as good as mine. Short-term volatility
is still with us, benefiting day traders, not investors, who grab their stomachs
with each gyration. In this chart, down days are in red, up days are in white.
friend, Todd, the stockmarket philosopher, this morning explained: "Two
days ago good news was bad news and bad news was worse news and all the news
was horrible. Today bad news is not so bad and the end of the interest rates
rises (Bernanke's speech yesterday) is a cure-all for every problem in the world
including the Arab-Israeli conflict it seems."
estate booms: In May, 2005, we bought a big block of apartments in
upstate new York for around $39 million, assumed the mortgages. Now we're selling
it for around $48 million. Why? We spent money on improving the place. We bumped
the rents slightly. We kept up occupancy. And we got a nice office. We're lucky.
Though the area is booming and rental housing is in great demand, it still takes
two years to get a building permit. When the numbers come in on this investment,
it looks like a 60%+ IRR. The second best thing about intelligent real
estate is that you don't get daily gyrations. It's far easier on the stomach.
See yesterday's column for upcoming opportunities in real estate.
to oil. Thomas L. Friedman reporting:
His one-hour documentary is on Discovery
Times TV tonight at 9 PM -- channel 839 in New York. My son saw it
recently in a preview. He said it was stimulating. In questions after the screening,
Friedman admitted that his gloom and doom scenario (as depicted in the documentary)
was turning out less gloomy. Despite zero encouragement from our government
(which Friedman wanted) Americans were coming up with neat solutions to high
oil prices and our dependence on buying oil from people who hate us.
backups are critical: Last
night I was transferring some TiVo shows to a spare hard drive, one devoted
to TiVo. This morning the computer says the hard drive no longer exists. It
has totally disappeared, failed, gone bye bye. I don't know why. I don't how
how to recover it. Fact is I probably never will. Eventually every hard drive
-- the only part of your computer that moves -- will crash and usually at the
worst possible time. Hence the need for constant backups and replacing your
hard drives every six to nine months. Old boring story.
guess they don't like us: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Irans spiritual
leader and the countrys most powerful figure, said in a speech on Sunday
that Israeli strikes in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories proved how the
presence of Zionists in the region is a satanic and cancerous presence and an
infected tumor for the entire world of Islam. The American president says Hezbollah
should be disarmed, but it will not happen.
types of phone systems: VoIP and TDM. The newer ones are VoIP, which
stands for voice over IP. The older technology is called TDM -- time division
multiplexing. The difference is simple. Under the old technology, you got an
entire circuit devoted to your phone conversation. In the new IP technology,
you share your circuit. The new IP technology promises huge benefits, mostly
useful to big companies -- benefits like creating networks of farflung employees
and offices. The new technology is too new and too unproven for smaller businesses.
Stay away from it.
Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. On a hike
through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg
raised in the air.
The elephant seemed
distressed so Mbembe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and
inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large thorn deeply embedded in it.
As carefully and
as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after
which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the
man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For several tense
moments Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually
the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.
Mbembe never forgot
that elephant or the events of that day. Twenty years later he was walking through
a zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one
of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu
were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and lifted its front
foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then
trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.
encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.
Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into
the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's
legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.
the same elephant.
Rabbi and his son
had just gotten his drivers license. He asked his father, who was a rabbi, if
they could discuss his use of the family car.
His father took
him into his study and said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your
grades up, study your Bible a little, get your hair cut, then we'll talk about
After about a
month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his
use of the car. They again went into the father's study where the father said,
"Son, I've been very proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've
studied the Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut."
The young man
waited a moment and then replied, "You know Dad, I've been thinking about
that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair. Even Jesus
had long hair."
The father said,
"Yes, and everywhere they went, they walked."
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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