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 Tuesday, May 23, 2006: It's not too soon to make a list of companies to watch and buy as they come in even further. The key is broken stocks, not broken companies. (Cramer's words). An interesting list of tech companies is in the June, 2006 issue of Business 2.0 magazine.

Business 2.0 ranks them: "To find the B2 100, we started with 2,000 tech companies that have been publicly traded for at least three years, have a market capitalization of least $50 million, and have had positive cash flow over the past 12 months. Zacks Investment Research of Chicago ranked the resulting list using four financial criteria: growth in revenue, profit, and operating cash flow during the past three years, and the 12-month stock market return as of December 31, 2005. Cash flow growth counts for 40% of a company's ranking. Each of the other criteria counts for 20%."

Their top ten:
Celgene (CELG), Red Hat (RHAT), Apple Computer (AAPL), SanDisk (SNDK), ValueClick (VCLK), Palomar Medical Technologies (PMTI), aQuantive (AQNT), LifeCell (LIFC), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Clinical Data (CLDA).

The entire list of 100 companies is not on Business 2.0's web site, yet. You need the paper magazine.

Real estate with rent? These days two factors are impinging on commercial real estate availablity as potential investments:
1. High interest costs.
2. Investment monies seeking great property (especially trophy) at any cost.
The good news is there's still interesting property around in smaller cities. With borrowing, it's possible to find something yielding 10%, with the hope that the rents and the value might rise and the IRR might ultimately be 15%.

The spam explosion: Lately it's gotten much worse. I am receiving 400 spam emails a day. There are five things to know:
1. Much of the goods they're offering are counterfeits. That includes the pills to to make you perform, lose weight, feel great.
2. Never visit the sites they suggest. Just visiting the sites will drop bad software on your PC.
3. The most effective way to deal with spam is with Microsoft Outlook 2003's junk email filter. It's not perfect. But it will catch 90% of your spam. It automatically consigns what it thinks is spam to a junk e-mail folder. Outlook 2003 comes with rules (which Microsoft updates every so often). But it also comes with software to allow you to define your own rules. For example, you can pick people whose emails should go straight to trash. You can pick people whose mail you actually want to receive. You can pick patterns. For example, I have a rule that anything with "Re: test " in the subject line goes to trash.
4. As you begin, you must check your junk mail regularly. You're "training" it. In the beginnning it will screw up. It will contain emails from good people. You dub them "safe senders." After a while it it'll get it all remarkably right. Think of "training" a dog.
5. If someone doesn't respond to your important email, call them on the phone. Your email probably got consigned to their junk email folder.

Thinking of selling your business? A friend is thinking of selling their business and asked my advice:

All that is relevant to selling a business are two issues:
1. How much cash you're being offered and,
2. What will you do after you've sold the business?
The advice I gave: Since you derive so much pleasure from the business, are in good health and don't need the money, I'd be hesitant to sell the business now. Wait until you're old and decrepit, or have developed a passion outside the business. Having something you love taken away from you is not easy. It leaves you with a "big hole." The money you get paid does not compensate for the feeling of emptiness and irrelevance. Moreover, managing the money you get is a full-time job -- and not an especially fulfilling one. The worst part of your "retirement" is waking up one day to the realization that you suddenly have little control over your own financial success. It's in the hands of semi competent money managers and subject to the vagaries of irrational forces -- like those we've seen in recent days.

We didn't have fluoride growing up. That's why my kids have such beautiful teeth and I have such awful ones. Which is I why my dentists regard my mouth as "their annuity." (They told me.) How different can dentists be? I visited one recently; he wanted to yank my tooth. A second said he'd work on it. And seven visits later, he's saved my tooth. Thank you, Dr. Hank Schiffman.

Hank Schiffman, great runner and superb New York endodontist. Photo after last Sunday's 10K race.

Mad Wife Disease:
A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a magazine.

"What was that for?" he asked. "That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Laura Lou written on it," she replied.

"Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Laura Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on," he explained.

"Oh honey, I'm sorry," she said. "I should have known there was a good explanation."

Three days later he was watching a ballgame on TV when she walked up and hit him in the head again, this time with the iron skillet, which knocked him out cold. When he came to, he asked, "What the hell was that for?"

She replied, "Your horse called."

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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