Technology Investor 

Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

Previous Columns
8:30 AM EST Monday, November 20, 2006: Stockmarkets are easing. Gold is climbing. There is fear about housing's implosion. Cash, at present high interest rates, looks increasingly interesting. In Sunday's New York Times, Conrad de Aenlle writes of caution:

This Party May End Before It Starts

THE stock market has had a great run over the last few months, but as the holiday season begins, some analysts are worrying that the traditional year-end rally on Wall Street may have already come and nearly gone.

Mary Ann Bartels, technical research analyst at Merrill Lynch, wondered in a note to investors whether the tendency for stocks to climb in the last couple of months of the year had been rescheduled this year for September and October.

“We think yes,” she wrote. She then acknowledged feeling torn between what her charts have told her and what the calendar and history have led her to expect.

“It is not our favored stance to be more toward the bear camp looking for a cyclical correction of 8 to 10 percent, but all of the market indicators suggest this is the more likely scenario over the coming weeks,” Ms. Bartels said. “What is surprising is that these readings are occurring at this time of year. Most years see a bullish year-end rally.”

She highlighted several exceptions that prove the rule, including three years in the 1990s when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost at least 6 percent at some point during the last two months of the year. What signs suggest that 2006 will play out as those three years — 1991, 1994 and 1996 — did?

Trading volume has shrunk, something that often precedes a price decline, she noted, and several sentiment indicators, including opinion surveys of investment advisers and measures of market volatility, show the sort of complacency that typically occurs near market tops.

She also detected a “barbell strategy” among investors, favoring emerging markets on one end and defensive, high-quality American blue chips on the other while ignoring the moderately risky stuff in between. That is similar to the pattern last spring, just before the market took a tumble.

These warning flags lead Ms. Bartels to forecast a decline in the S.& P. 500 to as low as 1,260 from its close on Friday of 1,401.20 “All technical signs are pointing to the markets nearing a consolidation period and not a blowoff to the upside,” she said. “We cannot rule out further upside, but the risk/reward warrants a more defensive stance.”

For $10,000 you can avoid some of your electrical bills: Maximum output is 1.7 kilowatts (about 30% to 90% of most homes' needs), Time Magazine awarded the Skystream home windmill one of its Best Inventions of the Year 2006.

According to Southwest Windpower, the maker, this windmill is the first all-inclusive wind generator (with controls and inverter built in) designed to provide quiet, clean electricity in very low winds. The maker says it will generate about 400 kilowatt hours a month at 12 MPH winds. According to my back-of-the envelope calculations, and assuming a 20 cent price per kilowatt hour, that would take me slightly over 10 years to pay the windmill off. I may be missing something... The maker says, to install it, you'll need:

+ At least 10 MPH average wind speed -- best results of 12 MPH or higher.
+ Property is greater than 0.5 acre and is unobstructed.
+ Local zoning allows a structure of at least 42' high.
+ Your local power utility has an existing interconnection agreement -- meaning you can sell electricity back to it.

For more, click here.

I'm building a house in the northeast -- 130 miles north of New York City. I keep looking for ways to save on energy. So far, the best deal I've found has been blow-in foam insulation -- which is much better (also more expensive) than standard fiber glass insulation.

Recommended reading:
You'll be thoroughly depressed when you learn that we have no strategy for Irag and hence no way of measuring if we're winning or losing.

You'll also be surprised at how intellectually uncurious our president is, how few questions he asks and how few of his people actually tell him what they have learned or think.

Why we're in Iraq and when we might get out remain mysteries that this fascinating book probes but doesn't answer, sadly. I suspect because the Administration has no answers. The book does quote all the right people. Until the very end, Bob Woodward, the author, had unprecedented access to all the powers that be.

The is a gripping, firsthand, "I lived through it" witness to Islamic terror. Brigitte Gabriel and her family lived in paradise in southern Lebanon until the Lebanese Civil War broke out in the early 1970s.

For seven years during the war, Brigitte and her family lived in an underground bomb shelter. They had no running water, no electricity and very little food. At times they ate grass. Her family was under constant shelling for no other reason than she and her family were Christian.

She finally got out, became a successful TV journalist, a TV anchor and has now immigrated to the U.S. She wrote the book and established her foundation, American Congress for Truth, to warn the U.S. of the upcoming threat to all of us non-Muslims and our society.

This is serious stuff. It's also engrossing. I couldn't put the book down. Buy it. Click here.

Woman visits shrink
A woman went to her shrink because she was having severe problems in bed. The psychiatrist asked her many questions but did not seem to be getting a clear picture of her problems. Finally he asked, "Do you ever watch your husband's face while making love?"

"Well, yes, I actually did once."

"And how did your husband look?"

"Angry, very angry."

At this point the psychiatrist felt that he was really getting somewhere and he said, "Well that's very interesting, we must look into this further. Now tell me, you say that you have only seen your husband's face once during love making; that seems somewhat unusual. How did it occur that you saw his face that time?"

"He was looking through the window at us!"

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.
Go back.