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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 Tuesday, May 16, 2006: Insite Vision is up. Hana Biosciences is down. The key in biotech is take profits early. Ride with the bank's money. If there's a big pullback -- there always will be -- buy a little more. The best news is people will pay whatever it takes to keep themselves healthy, or even alive for just a few more months. That's why so many new drugs are targeting cancer. If the drug ever gets approved ...

The joy of real estate: Our Sacramento property is just sold. The IRR is 42%. Says Jeff Lew, my wonderful syndicator, "The success was attributable to a combination of factors. First, we purchased the center wisely. Second, we aggressively leased up the property, which was nearly 20% vacant at the time of acquisition. By leasing the space at higher rates and in a shorter timeframe than underwitten, the property became more valuable. Couples with a combined high interest among investors in quality real estate assets, the asset commanded a significantly higher price in a shorter time frame than expected."

What's even better about this delicious IRR is something called a 1031 Exchange. That's an incredible loophole in the tax code which allows you to take your proceeds (including profits) and buy another, bigger, more expensive building tax-free. I have friends who've been using 1031 exchanges for years to build themselves huge real estate portfolios -- all financed by Uncle Sam.

We're moving into the summer doldrums: Most years, the market goes sideways between now and October. Most years some of my friends start leaving the market around now. I suspect that some of the squirrelness of recent days has been a combination of leaving and profit taking. The issue remains -- what to do with the money in the meantime? Fortunately short-term interest rates are up. Short-term muni bond triple tax-free floaters are now paying the equivalent of 4.89% taxable -- which, as they say in Australia, is better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish. Call Seth Wernick on 202-857-5459 for floaters. He's good.

Verbal promises are worth nothing. Get it in writing. That's Rule 1. Don't make any assumptions is Rule 2. Get everything in writing.

Planes are awful: The Wall Street Journal says it this morning and I experienced it yesterday. Planes are crowded and late. Service is nonexistent. Cabin crews are surly (JetBlue And Southwest are exceptions). Security lines are endless. Airfares are way up -- some nearly doubling in the past year. Do not expect a pleasant trip this summer. Take food, water, a big book, an iPod and endless patience.

How to succeed inside a corporation: Or what I told 300 telecom and IT managers yesterday in Minneapolis. Areas of focus:

+ Legs of a business. Learn them. Think a chair. Without legs it falls over. A business has "legs" -- customers, production, marketing, etc. Your job is to figure your business' legs and focus on making the weakest leg stronger.

+ The Customers. Why is it so difficult to buy from most companies? Why can't you ever reach someone helpful? Call centers don't answer phones quickly. They never respond to emails. Web sites are illogical, etc.

+ The Web. It can making your customers' lives easier. It can make boost your company's profitability. Visit these sites and see how a decent web site has materially improved businesses: YorkPhoto (easy photo ordering), VistaPrint (fast, cheap business printing) and FreshDirect (they remember what you last ordered).

+ Your Management. Pander to them. Make yourself visible. The best three "presents" a telecom manager can give his management:
Verizon BroadBand Access, a BlackBerry and a Panasonic multi-line home phone system.

+ Professional telecom management. 90% of all large corporate phone bills are wrong. 80% are wrong in the phone company's favor. Get a big refund. Show the check around. The biggest mess in corporate telecom are cell phone bills. They all wrong.

+ Your own career. Most bosses don't listen. Find yourself one who does. There are huge opportunities in new areas of Broadband, VoIP (Voice over the Internet), Home entertainment. TV over the Internet (check out, Location based services. Combine GPS with cell phones, Wiring up China and India.

+ The perfect investment. First manage your money. Don't run up your credit cards. Don't borrow to spend. Don't buy stock on margin. Don't live beyond your means. Second, read this column.

Bausch & Lomb has recalled ReNu with MoistureLoc cleaner for soft contact lenses: Apparently it could give you a potentially blinding fungal infection. Not good. Tell your kids.

Bausch & Lomb's ReNu with MoistureLoc recalled.

A lady reader send this one. It's for the ladies, she wrote:

A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome, extremely sexy middle-aged man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes off him.

The young-at-heart man noticed her overly attentive stare and walked directly toward her. (As all men will.)

Before she could offer her apologies for so rudely staring, he leaned over and whispered to her, "I'll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, no matter how kinky, for $20, on one condition."

Flabbergasted, the woman asked what the condition was.

The man replied, You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."

The woman considered his proposition for a moment, and then slowly removed a $20 bill from her purse, which she pressed into the man's hand along with her address. She looked deeply into his eyes, and slowly and meaningfully said....

"Clean my house."

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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