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 Thursday, May 25, 2006: Enduring realities as we go forward:

+ Energy and commodities will stay high. The era of cheap resources is over.
+ Breakthroughs will continue in biotech. People will pay anything to stay alive longer and more comfortably.
+ Inflation will be with us and will fixate the Fed, whose boss won't find the big productivity improvements his predecessor found (and loved). This is likely to lead to stagflation and a replay of the 1970s where stocks went nowhere for a long, long time. Portfolio diversification is key.
+ Investible funds sloshing the globe searching desperately for opportunities -- long and short -- will produce huge volatility, forcing us all to re-think short-term fads.

Bird flu. Energy. Alternative energy. Commodities. China stocks. India stocks. Flash Technology. Search. There's always a hot, short-term area. And if you get in real early and out quickly, you do OK. What's increasingly amazing (at least to me) is how fast the fad comes and then how fast it disappears, leaving a lot of late-in investors with egg on their faces and red ink in their pocket.

You can the see the riskiness of stocks. The first chart assumes buying one share; the second a thousand shares. (I should have been consistent). My China list is too long, but virtually all the stocks are now well off their one-year highs.

Zoltek (ZOLT) is new to my list of alternative energy companies. It makes high-performance carbon fibers for use in the blades of windmills that make electricity. Making electricity through wind is growing at nearly 20% a year. Carbon fiber is lightweight and meets the stiffness needs of longer and longer blades, which is the key to productivity improvements in the windmill business.

I continue to look for great undiscovered biotech/health care companies. I figure people will pay big for a few more months of life, or a better drug with fewer noxious side affects. My small portfolio includes Hana Biosciences,
InSite Vision, Manhattan Pharma, Novadel, Point Therapeutics, Vioquest and Ziopharm Oncology.

If you figure I'm stumped this morning in the search for the perfect stock investment, you'd be right. Those small-town real shopping center/office buildings with the 8% to 9% cash yields and projected 12% to 15% IRRs look very attractive compared to gambling on fads in the stockmarket. This morning, I'm actually revisiting muni bonds.

Vonage's tanked yesterday. Its economics are terrible, except in raising money. It will never make any money. Vonage's VoIP phone calls placed over the Internet will never be consistently good. Vonage can't control the Internet the same way conventional phone companies can control their own phone lines.

Never ever subscribe to Another reason to hate takeovers. The stock charts and tables you see on this column were done with Ever since Lycos bought, it's been all downhill. Help! Can anyone recommend a decent service that is actually reliable?

Life in the Virtual Assistant lane: Jobs for older people are scarce in corporate America. An older friend with no job came to see me yesterday. What should she do? I suggested becoming a "virtual assistant." Zillions of people -- retired and not retired -- are working out of their homes. They all need an assistant, who will print stuff at Kinkos, follow up on promises, return phone calls, take the kids to soccer when there's an important meeting, pay the monthly bills, get the computer fixed, back up the computer, deal with UPS and FedEx, etc.

The French Open Tennis begins this Sunday: Set your TiVo -- but don't buy TiVo's stock. Its results of later have been miserable.

French Open Tennis
Time (EST)
Sunday May 28
12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Monday May 29
5:00 am to 3:00 pm
Tuesday May 30
12:00 am to 1:30 am
Tuesday May 30
5:00 am to 3:00 pm
The June schedule is not up, yet.

This one's a cousin of Murphy's Law Cousins -- Part 1:

Law of Mechanical Repair
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

Law of the Workshop
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of what you're doing. .

Law of the Telephone
If you dial a wrong number, you'll never get a busy signal.

Law of the Alibi
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law:
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Law of the Bath
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result:
When you try to prove to someone that a machine doesn't work, it will.

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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