Technology Investor 

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 Wednesday, March 22, 2006: Investments I've looked at in recent days include a distress real estate fund, a commercial real estate syndicate fund, lending on a rental-to-condominium conversion in Phoenix and Vanguard mutual funds in Australia. Excluding the Vanguard fund, none involve listed securities. The moral here remains twofold. First, you got to search out and kiss a lot of frogs before you find The Perfect Investment. Second, that "perfect investment" is not always a stock exchange listed security.

Today's stock "plays" are short-term, momentum based. Right now Pandemic Flu stocks (see yesterday's column) are hot. I'm looking for others.

Microsoft delays Vista. A day or so after the trade press bitched that Vista (the new Windows) killed laptop batteries, Microsoft killed Vista for another six months or so. Microsoft had originally targeted late November -- the start of the holiday shopping season. Now it won't be out until 2007 sometime. Microsoft shares took a hit:

Ditto for Intel:

The reason I mention this is to repeat what I've been saying about these BIG computer companies:

1. They have become so big, it's impossible for them to get out of their own way. Everything they do is slow, delayed, and uninspiring.
2. The cost of funding employee stock options has eaten away their shareholder capital. Check out Intel, Dell and Texas Instruments. Read Gretchen Morgenson. Click here.
3. There is no heady IT boom -- like there was in the 1990s. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Worse, computer prices continue to fall -- down 15% in the last year alone.
In short, don't waste your time with even thinking about getting back into old computer favorites.

Not that you ever believed their "research," but... Wall Street continues to reduce what it spends on researching stocks.

Today's news: Morgan Stanley plans to cut 50 to 60 stock-research jobs in the U.S. and Europe, reallocating some of the resources to faster growing Asian and emerging markets. The jobs equal 7% of the Wall Street firm's global stock-research headcount of 800 people. The firm also plans to curtail "maintenance" research and emphasize more "distinct," higher-value reports.

You and I should never believe Wall Street's stock recommendations since that "research" remains tainted with corporate investment banking, which is a business a million times more profitable than buying and selling stocks for the likes of you and me.

Google has started Google Finance: The only unique thing about Google's finance site is that it doesn't have ads -- for now. There's no original content. Google culls all its content from some place else, including Yahoo! Finance, the web's most popular financial site. I'm not excited. Google is having a rough time finding ways to make money -- other than web site ad clickthroughs, its traditional business.

Don't allow your bags to be transferred between flights. Take them off. Then check them in. That's the moral of this story.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Some 30 million pieces of airline luggage -- about one percent of the bags passengers check in -- will go astray this year. ... The chief cause of late-arriving bags was mishandling when luggage is transferred between flights. This accounted for 61% of hold-ups in 2005. Next came failure to load bags at the original departure point, which made up 15 percent of delays. The attaching of incorrect destination tags at check-in accounted for just 3%.

Genuine bargain:

I love this screen. To buy it, click here.

Fun cartoons as Passover (April 12) gets closer:

Should children witness childbirth?
Due to a snow storm and power outage, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Kathleen, a 3-year-old girl, to hold the light high over her mommy so he could see while he delivered the baby. Very diligently Kathleen did as she was asked.

Her mother Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry. The paramedic then thanked Kathleen for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-year-old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.

Kathleen quickly responded, "He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place. Smack his butt again."

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. 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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