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 EST Wednesday, March 29, 2006: Interest rates went up another 25 basis points -- a quarter of a one per cent. The Fed funds rate is now 4-3/4% -- higher than many long-term rates. What irked the stockmarket (which fell sharply yesterday) was the Fed's words, which were actually very positive, though convoluted (as usual):

The slowing of the growth of real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2005 seems largely to have reflected temporary or special factors. Economic growth has rebounded strongly in the current quarter but appears likely to moderate to a more sustainable pace. As yet, the run-up in the prices of energy and other commodities appears to have had only a modest effect on core inflation, ongoing productivity gains have helped to hold the growth of unit labor costs in check, and inflation expectations remain contained. Still, possible increases in resource utilization, in combination with the elevated prices of energy and other commodities, have the potential to add to inflation pressures.

The Committee (i.e. the Fed) judges that some further policy firming (i.e. more interest rate hikes) may be needed to keep the risks to the attainment of both sustainable economic growth and price stability roughly in balance. In any event, the Committee will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to foster these objectives.

In short, the Fed has little idea of what's happening in the economy and may raise rates if those things (whatever they are) happen. The Fed has no monopoly on not being able to predict. Everyone else shares it.

"We'd like to give a high five to our research team. Our portfolio is up 70% so far in 2006 and looking stronger every day! We hope our members have been keeping up with these incredible picks."

If you get an email with these words, know that it's spam and a scam. Know that the email is being paid for by the company whose stock it's pushing. And know that you should delete the email instantly, if not sooner.

This skepticism also applies to some of the ads Google throws on my web site, e.g. the "60% Government Bond." That ad is just a come-on to capture your name to add to a spam mailing list to try and ultimately sell you something you don't want.

France is certifiably nuts: The day I decided that Technology Investor Magazine wasn't going to make it, I called a meeting of our 30-odd employees, explained our problems and my conclusion, and informed them all that this was their last day, sorry. Muriel had final checks for everyone. End of magazine. End of their employment. The fact that you can stop businesses painlessly is actually a great incentive to starting them. Something the French don't get.

The French are marching in the streets because their government is trying
to pass jobs legislation which the Wall Street Journal says "is aimed at encouraging companies to hire by allowing them to fire workers younger than 26 during their first two years on the job without the usual tangle of rules that discourage dismissals."

The Journal says "It comes partly in response to rioting last fall by underprivileged (and unemployed) youths." And to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the "first-job contract" marks a vital step toward loosening rigid labor rules blamed in part for high jobless rates in France and some other European countries. But to student activists and France's politically entrenched unions, the law is an attack on job security they consider the right of every worker. Read that again: The right of every worker.

As I said, the French are nuts and one reason I don't own -- or even think about owning -- any investment remotely associated with France.

GM, the continuing cockroach stock: GM says it received a subpoena from a federal grand jury investigating its handling of payments or "credits" from suppliers, and said it had found "material weaknesses" or "significant deficiencies" in certain areas of its accounting controls. The world's largest auto maker also said it received a subpoena from the SEC in connection with a previously disclosed investigation of GM's transactions in precious-metal raw materials.

Why GM isn't at $15 beats me.

But I have concluded that some cockroach stocks are endowed with inalienable investor faith. The two key ones are Google and GM. I remain convinced that both are strongly over-priced. But... I'm not messing with them. Too much "stuff" going on I don't understand.

What you can learn from tennis? James Blake lost the first set last night. He came back in the second. He came roaring back in the third and won it 6-0. Tennis is like life (and investing). It's a head game. Perseverance and belief in yourself are what count. Tennis is a long-haul game where every stroke and every point count. I can't find another sport with the same relevance.

The Nasdaq 100 tournament is on.

Nasdaq 100 Tennis from Miami TV Schedule
  Start (EST) End (EST)    
29-Mar-06 0:00 2:00 Early Round Coverage ESPN2
29-Mar-06 12:00 15:00 Early Round Coverage - Live ESPN2
29-Mar-06 19:00 21:00 Quarter Final's - Live ESPN2
30-Mar-06 13:00 17:00 Men's Quarter-Final
 Women's Semi-Final 1-Live
30-Mar-06 19:00 23:00 Women's Semi-Final 2-Live ESPN2
31-Mar-06 15:00 17:00 Men's Semi-Final 1-Live ESPN2
31-Mar-06 19:00 21:00 Men's Semi-Final 2-Live ESPN2
Saturday, Aprl 1 12.00 14.00 Women's Final -- Live CBS
Sunday, Apr 2 12.00 16.00 Men's Final -- Live CBS

Religious Truths
In these times, it is important for all of us of all faiths to recognize these four Religious Truths:
1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people.
2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4. Baptists do not recognize each other at Hooters.

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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