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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 Friday, June 24, 2005: First, please don't sell into this awful downdraft. Second, do expect oil to go higher. On March 3, I wrote that oil was going to $62 short-term. (Occasionally I'm close to being right.) Yesterday oil hit $60 before edging back a bit to close up $1.33 on the day to $59.42. The Dow fell 166.49 point to drop a whopping 1.57%. Nasdaq fell 21.37 points or 1.02% and the S&P 500 fell 13.15 or 1.08%. It was the worst day on the market in eons. Selling was not heavy. There was no widespread panic, or anything like that. The market was simply spooked by the big jump in oil, the lack of decent, positive news, Summer doldrums.

Fact is the U.S. economy is slowing down, but it's growing faster than most other places, especially Europe -- which is why the dollar is rising. I believe oil will go even higher. This weekend's Economist explains:

Today's (oil) prices are probably explained by a combination of the cartel's greed, bottlenecks in the refining system and red-hot demand. OPEC's members are all pumping oil as fast as they can. Only Saudi Arabia has any spare capacity left. This leaves the world market with no safety net, making oil traders jittery and causing them to demand a risk premium.

At the cartel's most recent meeting, in Vienna last week, ministers tried to soothe such fears. They raised output quotas by 500,000 barrels per day immediately and promised a further, similar increase if prices remained above recent levels. Far from reassuring markets, this created more worries. The quota rise was seen, correctly, as a mere public-relations exercise: because members were already producing more than they had previously agreed, it added no new oil to the market.

Indeed, OPEC's promise of a second increase in quotas if prices rise further has been taken to mean that the cartel now accepts a new upper bound for the target price of its basket of heavy crudes (which is a little lower than that of WTI). This is not the $28 or so discussed months ago, but $50-plus. The cartel may thus be testing consumers' acceptance of high prices.

A second factor behind the recent price hikes is bottlenecks in the global refining system. Those big inventories encouraged by the cartel have been processed by refiners, who have been enjoying high profit margins. There are now large stocks of refined products in OECD countries. However, the existence of these stocks is not dragging crude prices down. The reason is that the types of crude available from OPEC members tend to be heavy, sulphurous grades that are complicated or costly to process. Meanwhile, the global market is demanding ever more clean diesel fuels and low-sulphur petrol. ...

how long today's rally lasts could depend on the final factor pushing up prices: demand. Chinese oil consumption grew by perhaps 15% last year. Although that rate has not been matched in 2005, the world as a whole has continued to guzzle oil.

At some point, of course, high prices will clobber demand and encourage efficiency, fuel switching and so on. Will that happen soon? Probably not. In a new report, Douglas Terreson of Morgan Stanley estimates that the world economy would need to see sustained prices of $85 a barrel before the current robust trend in oil consumption is derailed — and with it, the world economy. And despite the recent run-up, $85 is still far off.

I wish the U.S. had an energy policy other than "The market will work its magic and take care of everything." For one, I wish we had continued to push stricter fuel economy standards and now allowed exemptions for gas guzzlers like SUVs. I was very depressed when I discovered Subaru had modified its latest Outback so it could avoid drop in a more powerful gas-guzzling engine and avoid government gas mileage rules.

Cars with the best gas mileage: Since higher gas prices are here to stay, here are the cars with the best gas mileage.
These cars top the rankings in the United States Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency's 2004 Fuel Economy Guide.

Best Gas Mileage
Engine size (liters)
Estimated annual fuel cost
Honda Insight 1 3 5-speed manual 60 66 $592
Toyota Prius 1.5 4 Variable automatic 60 51 $680
Honda Civic Hybrid 1.3 4 Variable automatic 48 47 $798
Volkswagen Diesel New Beetle/Golf/Jetta 1.9 4 5-speed manual 38 46 $873
Honda Civic 1.7 4 5-speed manual 36 44 $927
Toyota Echo 1.5 4 5-speed manual 35 43 $950
Toyota Scion XA 1.5 4 4-speed automatic 32 38 $1,061
Toyota Corolla 1.8 4 5-speed manual 32 40 $1,029
Toyota Scion XB 1.5 4 5-speed manual 31 35 $1.129
Toyota Celica 1.8 4 4-speed automatic 29 36 $1,140
Note: Estimated annual fuel cost is CNN/Money's and Harry Newton's calculation based on 15,000 miles of 55 percent city, 45 percent highway driving and a gallon of gasoline costing $2.50, which is roughly what it is today. Since CNN/Money did their calculations in March, 2004, the cost of gasoline at the pump has risen about 46%. Someone at Toyota made a brilliant decision to focus on gas thrifty cars. Sad there are no American cars in this roundup.

Point Therapeutics (POTP) has started another Phase 2 clinical trial of the Company's lead therapeutic compound, talabostat, this time for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The study is designed to evaluate the anti-tumor activity of talabostat in combination with gemcitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The trial design is a single-arm, two-stage study in up to 60 patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The primary clinical endpoint will be six-month survival -- i.e. if the patients live another six months. Secondary study endpoints include overall survival, progression-free survival, quality of life, and performance status. According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2005 alone, 32,180 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed and 31,800 people will die of the disease. Yuch!

The creation of Turn the Corner: Every one of us will be outdoors in the next new months. Many us will be bitten by a tick. Some of us will find the tick and remove it. Others of us won't. The worst ticks -- those that cause Lyme Disease -- are no bigger than a period on a typewritten page. For many of us, removing the tick won't solve our problem. We can be infected within minutes of a tick bit. In coming months many of us will experience strange symptoms. Our doctors won't know what's ailing us. I want you to remember this column and ask your doctor to test you for Lyme Disease. If he hesitates, he is not "Lyme-literate" -- most doctors aren't. I want you to actively look for another doctor.

Two days ago I had lunch with Staci Grodin, a young mother, who quit her job to form Turn the Corner Foundation. She is in 12th year of Lyme Disease. This is her story in her own words:

Among the many warnings we heard as children, from looking both ways before crossing the street to not touching a hot stove - walking barefoot in the grass was not one of them. It certainly was not one of them for me, until I contracted Lyme disease in 1994.

My daily activities, which included playing sports outside, lying on the grass in the park, and simply walking across the lawn to get to a nearby swimming pool, were no different from those of millions of other people. Yet, as a perfectly healthy twenty year old, without any rash or other indication that I had been bitten by a tick, I suddenly began having a myriad of strange, unexplainable symptoms. From flu-like symptoms, migraines and partial paralysis to joint pain, cardiac trouble and overall malaise, I was becoming sicker and sicker. Unfortunately, these symptoms mirrored those of many other illnesses, as Lyme disease so often does. After finally getting the correct diagnosis eight months later, I embarked on a very long journey that is still active today to treat this illness that I had contracted.

Due to this ongoing personal battle with Lyme disease, my husband and I created a Foundation in 2002 called Turn the Corner. One of our main goals of this Foundation was to help fund medical research, education, awareness and innovative treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Thanks to the help from our friends, family and colleagues we have already raised close to $1,000,000 and have made a significant impact on this disease.

In late 2003, Turn The Corner created a campaign named "You May Have It and Not Know It" due to the high odds that you, or someone you love, may have Lyme disease and not know it. This campaign emphasizes that Lyme disease is a drastically growing epidemic and it is projected that people are infected with this debilitating disease at a rate of five times greater than that of AIDS. It is a multi-system disease, which can affect virtually every tissue and every organ of the human body. It can be mild for some, and devastating to others. It can cripple and disable, or fog the mind. It can affect men, women, and children, and even the family dog.

With all the medical inadequacies in respect to this disease, it is reported that nine out of every ten cases is misdiagnosed as symptoms often mirror other medical problems such as Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus or Alzheimer's disease. To make the situation even worse, there are only a limited number of medical doctors in this country that are properly educated and trained on the disease.

It is the Foundation's goal to reach as many people as possible to let them know how prevalent this disease is and how much of a negative impact it can have on their lives. Additionally, we will continue to work with the medical industry to provide them the resources they need to properly diagnose and treat this debilitating disease.

Please support our efforts to provide necessary awareness and research for this debilitating disease. Help us fulfill our goals so we can Turn the Corner on Lyme disease. For more information about Lyme disease or the Foundation and its progress, please feel free to visit our web site at or call me at 212.580.6262.
Staci Grodin

I'm impressed by Staci. I'm impressed by what's she done and what she's trying to help. I'll help her with some money and some work. Traci tells me ticks are agile. They can land on your clothes and walk their way to your skin. Wear light-colored clothes outside. At least you'll have a fighting chance of seeing them. Traci tells me Lyme is raging in Europe also.

Don't open email attachments: Here's the story:

For thousands of Internet users, the offer seemed all too alluring: revealing pictures of Jennifer Lopez, available at a mere click of the mouse. But the pictures never appeared. The offer was a ruse and the click downloaded a piece of software code that turned the user's computer into a launching pad for Internet warfare.

On the instructions of a remote master, the software could deploy an army of commandeered computers - known as zombies - that simultaneously bombarded a target Web site with so many requests for pages that it would be impossible for others to gain access to the site. And all for the sake of selling a few more sports jerseys.

The facts of the case, as given by law-enforcement officials, may seem trivial: a small-time Internet merchant enlisting a fellow teenager, in exchange for some sneakers and a watch, to disable the sites of two rivals in the athletic jersey trade. But the method was far from rare.

Experts say hundreds of thousands of computers each week are being added to the ranks of zombies, infected with software that makes them susceptible to remote deployment for a variety of illicit purposes, from overwhelming a Web site with traffic - a so-called denial-of-service attack - to cracking complicated security codes. In most instances, the user of a zombie computer is never aware that it has been commandeered.

The networks of zombie computers are used for a variety of purposes, from attacking Web sites of companies and government agencies to generating huge batches of spam e-mail. In some cases, experts say, the spam messages are used by fraud artists, known as phishers, to try to trick computer users into giving confidential personal information, like bank-account passwords and Social Security numbers...

U.S. officials say the case involving the athletic jerseys was solved after some college computers in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were found to be infected with software code traced to a user whose Internet name was "Pherk." That hacker, a high school student in New Jersey, told investigators that he was acting at the behest of an online merchant - the proprietor of

The merchant, an 18-year-old Michigan college student, could face trial this year in a federal court in Newark. ...

Experts say consumers can largely make their computers off limits to zombie activity by using up-to-date antivirus and antispam software.

Yet another classic, stupid press release: "Austin, TX, June 23, 2005--Roadmapping to show the path to the future is presently the hot approach for long-range planning. However, to achieve success, roadmaps must target the right approach, involve the appropriate group intelligence, and provide a specific level of detail." Some people in PR get paid by the word. There's no other explanation.

Playing golf this weekend? Here are the 10 Best Caddie Replies:

#10 - Golfer: "Think I'm going to drown myself in the lake."
Caddie: "Think you can keep your head down that long?"

#9 - Golfer: "I'd move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course."
Caddie: "Try heaven, you've already moved most of the earth."

#8 - Golfer: "Do you think my game is improving?"
Caddie: "Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now."

#7 - Golfer: "Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?"
Caddie: "Eventually."

#6 - Golfer: "You've got to be the worst caddy in the world."
Caddie: "I don't think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence."

#5 - Golfer: "Please stop checking your watch all the time. It's too much of a distraction."
Caddie: "It's not a watch - it's a compass."

#4 - Golfer: "How do you like my game?"
Caddie: "Very good sir, but personally, I prefer golf."

#3 - Golfer: "Do you think it's a sin to play on Sunday?"
Caddie: "The way you play, sir, it's a sin on any day."

#2 - Golfer: "This is the worst course I've ever played on."
Caddie: "This isn't the golf course. We left that an hour ago."

#1 Best Caddie Comment - Golfer: "That can't be my ball, it's too old."
Caddie: "It's been a long time since we teed off, sir."

Wimbledon tennis is on ESPN2 this weekend:

Some of them even play as well as I do. I wish. Here are Wimbledon TV times for this weekend.

Date Channel Time Round
Fri - 6-24      
  ESPN2 3 AM - 3:30 AM (Highlights)  
  ESPN2 3:30 AM - 5 AM (Highlights)  
  ESPN2/ESPN Cl. 7 AM - 8 AM (LIVE) Rnd. 3
  ESPN Cl. 8 AM - 10 AM (LIVE) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 10 AM - 5 PM (LIVE) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 8 PM - 8:30 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 8:30 PM - 10 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
Sat - 6-25      
  ESPN2 4 AM - 4:30 AM (Highlights)  
  ESPN2 4:30 AM - 6 AM (Highlights)  
  ESPN2 8 AM - 12 PM (LIVE) Rnd. 3
  NBC 12 PM - 3 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 3 PM - 6 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 10 PM - 10:30 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
  ESPN2 10:30 PM - 1 AM (Delayed) Rnd. 3
Sun - 6-26      
  ESPN2 4 AM - 4:30 AM (Highlights)  
  ESPN2 4:30 AM - 7 AM (Highlights)  
  NBC 12 PM - 3 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 4
  ESPN2 7 PM - 9 PM (Delayed) Rnd. 4

Harry Newton

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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