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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 EST Friday, March 24, 2006: Wedding anniversary. 30 years today. By all measures of health, happiness and the fact that we all enjoy each other, this marriage has been one gigantic success.

Some hedge fund managers got together. Like me, they love health care. Here are their favorite health stocks. Vaxgen is in the pandemic flu portfolio. I own Chelsea.

1. Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ANPI)
2. Chelsea Therapeutics (CHTP.OB)
3. Flamel Technologies SA (FLML)
4. Impax Laboratories Inc. (IPXL.PK)
5. Insmed Inc. (INSM)
6. MGI Parma Inc. (MOGN)
7. Oxigene Inc. (OXGN)
8. Signalife Inc. (SGN)
9. VaxGen Inc. (VXGN.PK)

How should my investments be allocated?. Go to a broker. Go to a financial adviser. The answer will be a pat formula of stocks, bonds and cash. But that ignores real estate (in all its forms), commodities, private equity and even leveraged buyouts. They don't include them, because brokers and advisers can't sell them and earn commissions on them. To find them, you have to scrounge.

Scrounging is the essence of allocation -- not arbitrary formulae.

Life recently has been changing. Real estate syndications are morphing into funds. As interest rates rises, distress real estate is starting to look interesting; condo conversions are looking interesting as rents rise. Countries like Australia with major minerals looks enticing.

Here's my present allocation.

I'm not proud of it.. But I'm not certain how to change it.

Add publicly traded equities to mutual funds and hedge funds and you find I presently have 30.8% in equities, my largest allocation. My second largest is 23.7% of investment real estate -- in syndications and loans to developers. (The private real estate are the family's apartments and homes.) Real estate has been consistently the most profitable in recent years -- with IRRs as high as 37% annually. ... Drat, I just realized my commodities fund is mixed in with hedge funds... Take out 3%, which is what I have in commodities.

There are many learned papers and books on allocation. None seem to me to especially useful. What I find useful:

1. What sound alternatives I can scrounge at any one time. If I'm not scrounging (i.e. aggressively looking), if I'm not responsive to opportunities (from day to day), I get dropped from the offerings. There are far too many other investors out there who'll grab a great opportunity. Speed of decision-making gets the best deals.

2. Where I think the world is going -- commodities are still rising as China and India develop, the stockmarket will edge up as profits continue to improve. But private equity, for me, is dead. Investing without security or liquidity is not intelligent for someone over 60. In other words, while I can't predict, I must try. But I don't have to ride unproven horses.

3. Muni bonds are now sufficient to pay the family's living expenses. That's a key burden removed, giving a little more flexibility and a little more peace of mind.

4. I need to keep rearranging the classifications. The ones above need fixing. I need to break out commodities, for example.

5. I can't continue to agonize over this. But I also can't create a fixed percentage and ignore it. You have to actively manage this day by day. That's my allocation conundrum, as Greenspan would say.

Alcatel is buying Lucent. Alcatel makes money. Lucent doesn't. The merged company will be run by the head of Lucent. Now that really makes sense. Look at where these two stocks have been in the past ten years. Contrary to what Wall Street thinks, telecommunications is not going back to the heady days of the late 1990s, early 2000. Personally we're all spending more communications -- from wireless phones to BlackBerries to broadband everywhere. But it's costing the carriers megabucks to serve us and the equipment makers are finding their prices crushed under the relentlessness of profitless prosperity in telecom.

A Sharpie that doesn't fade: Sharpie Industrial is permanent. Super permanent. That means it doesn't smear, smudge, disappear over time, get dissolved by liquids. That means it can be really useful for computer discs, labeling tools, etc.

Don't get this baby's ink on your fingers, your clothes, or anything you don't want permanently marked. This thing is for life. And I mean life.

Save, Save, Save: I was so pleased. I'd written a great column. At 1:15 AM, it was time for bed. Then Macromedia's Dreamweaver chooses to have a fight with Microsoft's Excel and bingo, Windows blows up. That lost the column. Here I am rewriting from memory. Had I saved once in the past hour, I'd be sound asleep. Instead of cursing Microsoft. ... Boy, talk about a cockroach stock. Every day there's another bad story on that company. One day they're delaying their Windows upgrade (called Vista). The next day they're rearranging deckchairs on their management suites and writing memos that say nothing. Read today's memo. Click here.

How to fix a new PC: All new PCs and laptops come with software from the likes of Apple, AOL, Microsoft, Real (RealPlayer), Yahoo! You don't need most of it. The less you have, the faster your machine will run. Go to Settings/Control Panel/Add or Remove Software. Take one software out after another -- AOL, Microsoft Works, RealPlayer, QuickTime, etc. Most of these are "trial" programs which clutter your machine up with constant reminders to buy or upgrade. Then go to Windows Explorer and remove the remnants that the uninstaller didn't catch, including desktop icons. Then run msconfig and stop all the programs from vendors you dislike.

Watch your kids on the Internet. They'll tell all about themselves -- enough for the bad people to find them. They will. And the results will be tragic. Online communities include,, myyearbook. There are thousands more. Kids get sucked in by kindly words coming out cyberspace. They agree to meet their new friend... Some safety tips from MySpace:

* Your profile and MySpace forums are public spaces. Don't post anything you wouldn't want the world to know (e.g., your phone number, address, IM screens name, or specific whereabouts). Avoid posting anything that would make it easy for a stranger to find you, such as where you hang out every day after school.
* People aren't always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your friends list. It's fun to connect with new MySpace friends from all over the world, but avoid meeting people in person whom you do not fully know. If you must meet someone, do it in a public place and bring a friend or trusted adult.
* Harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content should be reported. If you feel someone's behavior is inappropriate, react. Talk with a trusted adult, or report it to MySpace or the authorities.
* Don't post anything that would embarrass you later. Think twice before posting a photo or info you wouldn't want your parents or boss to see!
* Don't mislead people into thinking that you're older or younger.

Honda's brilliance.
There are no computer graphics or digital tricks in this film. Everything you see really happened in real time exactly as you see it. This short video took 606 takes. On the first 605 takes, something didn't work. They would then have to set the whole thing up again. The crew spent weeks shooting night and day. The two-minute video cost six million dollars, and took three months to complete, including full engineering of the sequence. It is one of the most downloaded advertisements in Internet history. There are six and only six handmade Accords in the world. To the horror of Honda engineers, the filmmakers disassembled two of them to make the film. Everything you see in the film are parts from those two cars. The voice-over is Garrison Keillor. When the ad was shown to Honda executives, they liked it, and commented on how amazing computer graphics have become. They fell off their chairs when they found out it was for real. Oh. and about those funky windshield wipers. On the new Accords, the windshield wipers have water sensors, and are designed to start doing their thing automatically as soon as they become wet. It looks a bit weird in the commercial. Click here.

How to test for insanity
During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was that defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub; then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup.

"No," said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want to be by the wall or near the window?

Which Church offers the best promotion prospects?
A Catholic priest and a rabbi were chatting one day when the conversation turned to a discussion of job descriptions and promotions.
"What do you have to look forward to in terms of being promoted?" asked the rabbi.
"Well, I'm next in line for the Monsignor's job," replied the priest.
"Yes, and then what?" asked the rabbi.
"Well, next I can become a bishop."
"Yes, and then?"
"If I work real hard and do a good job as bishop, it's possible for me to become an archbishop."
"OK, then what?"
Exasperated, the priest replied, "With some luck and real hard work, maybe I can become a cardinal."
"And then?"
Growing angry, the priest responded, "Well, with lots and lots of luck and some real difficult work, if I'm in the right places at the right times and play my political games just right, maybe, just maybe, I can get elected Pope."
"Yes, and then what?"
"Good grief!" shouted the priest. "What do you expect me to become, GOD?"
"Well," responded the rabbi, "One of our boys made it!"

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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