Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.
8:30 AM EST Friday, May 9, 2008: You'll
love this: I was overwhelmed yesterday by people asking for a list of my brokers'
and my friends' stocks recommendations. Everyone figured this was an absolutely
surefire way to make money. Namely: short all the lousy recommendations.
The sad part is
that the bulk of the recommendations -- stocks like Sirius Satellite Radio and
Qwest the phone company -- are all so low already. But these two (the last recommendations
I remember) have nicely fallen.
Now the question
is: How do I get on phone lists so more brokers can cold call me with their
hot recommendations? Anyone got any ideas?
Not all recommendations
suck. Reader Captain Bill Ludwick of Toledo, Ohio, says his credit union CDs
are still paying 6.375% and are beating the S&P 500. I'm guessing he's picking
his credit unions carefully.
keeps going up. It hit $125.59. And
long-term, it will keep going up. But this present boom smells like it needs
to pull back a little, if only temporarily. Don't buy until they pull back.
Look at the two easiest-to-play oil ETFs:
Hickey's latest newsletter. He's seriously
bearish. One major point: The Labor Department's April monthly survey of employment
actually tallied to a loss of 287,000 jobs but the BLS (Bureau of Lies and Shenanigans).
But BLS's computer model simply added 267,000. That came up with a net 20,000
loss, which everybody on BubbleVision raved about. It showed a much better economy.
strategy "rebuild his precious metals positions on dips and rebuild tech
stock put options. Targets for put options include Texas Instruments, Intel,
SAP, Google, RIMM, Amazon, SanDisk, NetLogic Microsystems, ASML, KLA-Tencor,
Lam Research and "others than my overpriced and vulnerable."
your junk mail box: I turned off Outlook's junk mail box because
I couldn't train it. But the cursed thing still keeps dropping critical emails
into it. I've now trained myself to check it regularly.
is a cheap place to buy drugs. You don't have
to be a paying member to buy their drugs. Generic drugs are also cheaper. I'm
on Prilosec. The generic Omeprazole are 30% cheaper.
Day is Sunday. Though it's clearly commercial hype, mothers actually
get annoyed if they're neglected. I have this on good authority.
You can send these flowers to your mother in China via ChinaFlowerGift.com.
costs. My car's brake job cost $970 and a week. My bicycle's brake
job cost $43.33 and ten minutes. It's a lot more fun, faster and far cheaper
to beetle round New York City on a bicycle. You don't want to hear what parking
default swaps (CDSs) hurt A.I.G. They dropped $9.11 billion in value
in A.I.G.'s first quarter. Buffett called them "financial weapons on mass
destruction." Wikipedia says
A CDS is a credit
derivative between two counterparties, whereby one makes periodic payments
to the other and receives the promise of a payoff if a third party defaults.
The former party receives credit protection and is said to be the "buyer"
whilst the other party provides credit protection and is said to be the "seller".
The third party is known as the "reference entity."
When a credit
event in the reference entity is triggered, the protection seller either takes
delivery of the defaulted bond for the par value (physical settlement) or
pays the protection buyer the difference between the par value and Recovery
amount of the bond (cash settlement). Simply, the risk of default is transferred
from the holder of the fixed income security to the seller of the swap.
business is inventing new financial products to sell. Sometimes the products
fly. Sometimes they crash and burn (e.g. auction rate securities) Credit default
swaps were only invented in 1995. My rule is simple: If I can't understand what
they're selling me, I say no. That's an extension of my "When in doubt,
stay out" rule. I still have no idea what a CDS actually is.
away from Windows XP SP3. Turn off your automatic updates. Computerworld
today reported that Windows XP Service Pack 3 sent some PCs into an endless
series of reboots. A reader, Peter Zhu, who did update, says it works fine for
him, but he notices no difference in performance or anything else. I wrote about
wonderful statistic: Twenty percent of Americans admit that they
spend less time having sex because they are online, according to a survey conducted
by advertising agency JWT.
That was the reaction
of the editors at Laptop Magazine, but it turns out many would choose to spend
time with their connected gadgets rather than engage in sexual activity. Take
Paul. He admits that he chose his new, just out-of-the-box BlackBerry Pearl
over having sex with his girlfriend who was clad in black lingerie. At
the time, the sex had to wait. The BlackBerry was all that was on my mind,
he said. Turning down a sexual experience to spend time with a gadget or on
the Net seems crazy, but certainly not unheard of.
This begs the
question: What gadgets make us give up the big O? The laptop editors looked
at some of todays hottest hardware and assessed their sexual fulfillment.
In their opinion, no device is worth giving up the ultimate pleasure, but they
found eight that made us think twice. Top of the list was the Apple iPhone.
The rest were Amazon Kindle, BlackBerry Curve, MacBook Air, Nintendo DS, Slacker
Portable, ASUS Eee PC and Dash Express. For more of this nonsense, see Laptop
old fart bumper stickers:
Background: New Zealand is the land where the
men are men, and the sheep are scared.
A New Zealander
was washed up on a beach after a terrible shipwreck. Only a sheep and a sheepdog
were washed up with him.
he realized that they were stranded on a deserted island. After being there
a while, he got into the habit of taking his two animal companions to the beach
every evening to watch the sun set.
evening, the sky was a fiery red with beautiful cirrus clouds, the breeze was
warm and gentle - a perfect night for romance.
As they sat there,
the sheep started looking better and better to the lonely New Zealander. Soon,
he leaned over to the sheep and... put his arm around it.
But the sheepdog,
ever protective of the sheep, growled fiercely until the man took his arm from
around the sheep..
After that, the
three of them continued to enjoy the sunsets together but there was no more
A few weeks passed
by and, lo and behold, there was another shipwreck. The only survivor was a
beautiful young woman, the most beautiful woman the man had ever seen... She
was in a pretty bad way when he rescued her and he slowly nursed her back to
When the young
maiden was well enough, he introduced her to their evening beach ritual. It
was another beautiful evening...red sky, cirrus clouds, a warm and gentle breeze
- perfect for a night of romance.
Pretty soon, the
New Zealander started to get 'those feelings' again. He fought the urges as
long as he could but he finally gave in and, realizing he now had the opportunity,
leaned over to the young woman cautiously and whispered in her ear,
'Would you mind
taking the dog for a walk?'
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 on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look 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 Michael's business school
tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click
here and here.