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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 Wednesday, July 22, 2008: I remain ultra-cautious. Happy days are not here again because the market has bounced back for the past six days.

I suspect the bounceback has less to do with "fundamentals" and far more to do with short-covering, especially financials.

Are financials suddenly cheap? I say "NO. There are too many losses still to come. There's too much work to be done to rehabilitate the financials from the worst financial crisis since the great depression. And, in coming weeks, there simply won't be the excitement to push up, let alone hold their present stock prices, which will slide down." In today's present frenzy, it's too early to short the financials. But it soon will be.

Want to read more? The New York Times has a piece, Bank Investors Expect Less as Losses Mount. The article has these words:

But it has now been a year since the credit crisis erupted, and, so far, the optimists have been proven wrong time and again. Skeptics say it could take years for banks to recover from the worst financial crisis since the Depression. And even when things do improve, the pessimists maintain, banks’ profits will be a fraction of what they were before.

There are many reasons for caution. Home prices continue to decline, and defaults are accelerating on a wide range of loans. As lenders struggle, loans are becoming even more scarce for hard-pressed consumers and companies. That, in turn, could slow any recovery in the broader economy.

The Wall Street Journal has a piece "Five Banks Post Losses -- and Their Stocks Soar". The piece contained:

Five of the largest U.S. financial institutions, led by Wachovia Corp. and Washington Mutual Inc., reported combined quarterly losses of more than $11 billion. But their shares jumped an average of 14% on rising hopes that battered bank stocks have fallen about as low as they can go.

The buying frenzy, also fueled by short sellers covering bearish bets, was at odds with the mostly somber assessment by bank executives Tuesday of the shaky loans and struggling economy bedeviling the industry.

In a sign of the loan woes likely to haunt them for years, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, SunTrust Banks Inc., Fifth Third Bancorp and Regions Financial Corp. socked away nearly $13 billion in loan-loss provisions. Wachovia, Regions and Fifth Third also cut their dividends in order to conserve cash.

Wardrobe malfunction fine removed: A federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against CBS. The court said the fine arbitrary and capricious. The Court found the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment. The commission also erred, the judges ruled, by holding CBS responsible for the actions of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, who were characterized by the judges as “independent contractors hired for the limited purposes of the Halftime Show.”

I am glad that the Court handed it to a Federal government agency. These agencies step way out bounds far too often. To have a court system you can appeal to makes me feel good.

Sadly, the only people who benefited from all this nonsense were lawyers.

Mamma Mia is fun. We saw it last night. I loved it and cried. My wife thought I was a woos. But she liked it also. Mamma Mia is the supreme "feel-good" movie. Lots of dancing. Lots of music. And it ends with a teary love scene that ends in -- what else -- a marriage.

Stars Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried are really good. They can sing and dance. Pierce Brosnan tries to sing, but can't. But he does bare his handsome hairy chest.

How to save on gas: Engine tune-ups, wheel alignments, tire pressure checks, and filter replacement. Remove little-used equipment that adds weight or increases drag (e.g., sporting gear, tools, roof racks/carriers). No jackrabbit stops and starts. Drive a little slower. Combine multiple trips into one.

These African scams actually work. Americans get sucked in for millions of dollars each year.

Please, kindly permit me to share my problems with you. My name is Alida Malik 21 year from Sudan , residing in Accra Ghana as refugee. I got your contact through my search for a trustful person/company in Europe or U.S.A that will assist me retrieve the sum of ($9.850 M) with Bank of Ghana .

And through my enquiry from the regional branch manger of the bank i was told that the money (Nine Million eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars) was placed in escrow call account with my name as the beneficiary so that no one can take the money except my family member. So my aim of contacting you is to assist me to retrieve this money to your account as my Family purchaser or my late father's partner. ...

And another one:

I want to inform you that the fee for your Cheque Draft has been Paid yesterday 30 /6/ 2008 at 8:30Am because I went to the Eco bank that issued cheque to confirm if the cheque has expired and the manager of Eco Bank Benin told me that before the check will get to you it will expire. So I told him to cash the $900,000.00, all the necessary arrangement of delivering of the $900,000.00 in cash was made with FEDEX COMPANY WORLD WIDE. Here is the contact of the fed ex Company World Wide bellow.

ATTN: Dr Sammy jolly.
TEL: +2340738911244

...I am waiting for your urgent response. Mean while the only fee you have to pay them is $185 USD they will use to obtain insurance certificate and claims of affidavit that will prove that the box belongs to you. Be rest assure that all other fees have been paid by me.

I am waiting for your urgent response.

Thanks Dr Sammy jolly.

Exercise every day. If I skip a day's exercise -- typically running around on a tennis court -- I feel stiff and crabby. I'm addicted to my exercise.

A true Southern lady
A very gentle Southern lady was driving across the Savannah River Bridge in Georgia one day. As she neared the top of the bridge; she noticed a young man fixing to jump.

She stopped her car, rolled down the window; and said: ' Please don't jump, think of your dear mother and father.'

He replied: ' Mom and Dad are both dead; I'm going to jump.'

She said: ' Well, think of your wife and children.'

He replied: ' I'm not married and I don't have any kids.'

She said: ' Well, think of Robert E. Lee. '

He replied: '' Who's Robert E. Lee ? ''

She replied: '' Well bless your heart; just go ahead and jump, you dumb ass Yankee ! '

Custer's Last Stand, one day later
The day after Custer's Last Stand, a surviving Indian scout employed by the U.S. Cavalry rode a donkey into Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory, where Custer had departed with his regiment to the Little Bighorn less than a month previously.

When asked what he was doing there riding a donkey, he replied, "Custer ordered me to save his ass."

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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