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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, Friday, November 23, 2007: Markets will bounce back a little. That's what today's early futures portend and on overseas markets yesterday which weren't closed for Thanksgiving. But, as I've written before, "Do not be fooled by bear market bounces, which are often violent, and short-lived."

Yesterday was my fortieth Thanksgiving in the U.S., my adopted country. I have a lot to be thankful for. Health, family, wealth. The usual suspects. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The only sad note is that on my first Thanksgiving the Vietnam war was raging. Now 40 years later we have another war -- one that's already lasted longer than the Second World War and killed and maimed too many young wonderful Americans. I pray one day we'll learn not to invade other's people's countries -- especially ones that pose no threat to us.

All about Canadian oil sands: Canada has more oil than Saudi Arabia. Canada's oil is not as cheap to mine as Saudi's. Canada's costs about $30 a barrel -- but that's a profitable business with oil selling for close to $100 a barrel For a very fascinating article on the Alberta tar sands, you must read "Unconventional Crude" by the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert.

Why I don't like financial stocks. They smell too much like cockroaches. Anyone who thinks all the bad loans have been written off is smoking something. From today's New York Times:

$300 Billion in Write-Offs Is Predicted

FRANKFURT, Nov. 22 - Losses in the distressed mortgage sector of the United States could reach $300 billion, only a portion of which has so far been accounted for by write-offs at major banks, according to a study released on Thursday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Major financial institutions, including Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Swiss Re, have estimated losses of about $50 billion, but the O.E.C.D. cautioned that a rougher period may yet await financial markets, which have swooned in recent days as traders try to calculate the impact of mortgage-sector losses on the overall economy.

The O.E.C.D., based in Paris, is an international organization that helps governments with economic, social and governance issues. In particular, mortgage resets - the point at which the interest rate on a loan shifts upward to reflect current borrowing costs - have not peaked, but will probably do so next May, the organization said in the report.

"We still have not hit the worst point in resets, delinquencies and ultimate losses on mortgages," it said.

The group estimated the losses based on a 14 percent default rate on subprime mortgages, high by historical standards but entirely plausible under the current circumstances, economists say. Losses on subprime loans - those made to the least creditworthy borrowers - would cost lenders $125 billion, the organization said.

Factoring in so-called Alt-A mortgages, ones given to people with better credit but still not high-end, the organization concluded that an overall loss level of $300 billion looked feasible.

The loss numbers reflect not just the value of the mortgages but also the total cost to lenders of a bad mortgage, once they have foreclosed on and sold the house to recoup, presumably, at least part of their losses. But, the organization said, much will depend on how banks react - or are forced to react - to future defaults.

Banks and other investors are exposed to the mortgage market through securities backed by housing loans. The problem in financial markets could force write-offs far in excess of what actual defaults turn out to be.

By contrast, if they can hang on until the American housing market bottoms out and allows a fuller picture of what losses are, economists say, those losses can probably be absorbed with relatively little shock.

"The most important variable the markets are facing right now is time," said Adrian Blundell-Wignall, an economist who worked on the study for the organization. "Time is what lets you get out of jail in this case."

Investors have pounded stocks far afield of the financial sector in recent days as traders debated the risks of a broader hit from the credit crunch. If the worst situation were to occur, banks would constrict lending to the rest of the economy.

So far, most hints have been anecdotal, but nervous markets already feel compelled to discount the prospect in share prices, traders said.

Clash of the times.
Roger Federer and Pete Samprass are playing three exhibition matches in Asia. Two have been played in Seoul Korea, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The last one will be played this evening late at 1:00 AM and a repeat tomorrow evening (Saturday) at 8:00 PM.
You'll find the match on the Tennis Channel, which is 217 on DirecTV.

Roger Federer
Pete Samprass
Career prize money:: $35,640,078
Career prize money:: $43,280,489

One cruise you missed -- be thankful. From Bloomberg this morning:

The cruise ship ``M/S Explorer'' evacuated 154 passengers and crew after hitting heavy ice and taking on water in the sea off the coast of Antarctica. The passengers and crew were moved to lifeboats then boarded another ship and are safe, said Susan Hayes, an executive at Toronto-based tour operator G.A.P. Adventures. The company owns the ship, she said. ...

The captain and first officer stayed on board the ship after the passengers and other crew were evacuated, and Hayes said she didn't have information about whether they were safe.

G.A.P. was offering a 10-day trip on the Explorer starting Nov. 29 from Ushuaia, Argentina, then winding through the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. The cost was $4,895. "`Experience a voyage of a lifetime to land where penguins rub shoulders with seals and orcas and whales are often seen plying the icy waters,'' the G.A.P. Web site says.

The company describes itself as Canada's largest adventure travel company.

The Maid asked for a raise.
The Madam was very upset about this and asked: "Now Maria, why do you want an increase?"
Maria: "Well Madam, there are three reasons why I want an increase. The first is that I iron better than you."
Madam: "Who said you iron better than me?"
Maria: "The Master said so."
Madam : "Oh."
Maria: "The second reason is that I am a better cook than you."
Madam: "Nonsense, who said you were a better cook than I?"
Maria: "The Master did."
Madam: "Oh."
Maria: "My third reason is that I am a better lover than you."
Madam (very upset now): "Did the Master say so as well?"
Maria: "No Madam, the gardener did."

She got the pay raise.

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.

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