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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 Tuesday, November 28, 2006: Stockmarkets fell sharply yesterday. S&P 500 was down 1.4%, Dow (30 big stocks) was down 1.3%. Nasdaq (heavy on technology) was down 2.2%. And the Russell 2000 (smaller stocks) was down 2.6%. Some say this is the beginning of a big fall.

Henry McVey, chief United States investment strategist at Morgan Stanley, says: “You’ve been up 131 days without a 1 percent correction. That’s just unnatural for equity markets."

The economy is slowing down. The gross domestic product grew at 5.6% annual pace in the first quarter but only 1.6% in the third . Wal-Mart said its November sales would fall 0.1% in November. That news spooked the market. Wal-Mart is America's biggest retailer, with its own problem.

Where are markets going short-term? Your guess is as good as mine.

New investment vehicle: Office Condominiums: Want to own part of a big downtown office building? Buy an office condominium. They're the latest rage. They offer all the advantages (and disadvantages) of owning a building:

+ Upside capital appreciation.
+ Decent rate of return if you find a decent tenant.
+ Ability to refinance -- hence the ability to pull most of your investment out long before you sell it.

Housing is picking up: My friends say the summer/fall lag in housing/apartment sales is over. They're seeing sales pick up -- not super fast. But they're picking up. And friends who condo-ed several apartment buildings earlier this year are breathing a collective sigh of relief. The good news is we Americans still are having babies and people keep immigrating here -- despite us being infidels. And these new Americans got to live somewhere.

Something awful is floating around: It makes you feel awful for several days. Advice:
+ Get a flu shot, especially if you're between 60 and death (like me).
+ Wash your hands regularly.
+ Stay rested. Naps in the morning, in the afternoon and early evening are good.
+ Take Zithromax in the Z-Pak when you get sick. This antibiotic always works for me. But ask your doctor. Be wary about taking it if you take other pills.

Eat less: Personally I feel better when I eat less and more often. I now routinely don't order main courses at restaurants. I eat only appetizers. I'll eat an apple or a handful of nuts and raisins between meals.

Ford bets the farm: Ford has basically pledged every decent asset it has to raise $18 billion.

Not a pretty chart

Yesterday it mortgaged nearly all its domestic assets — its plants, office buildings, patents and trademarks — along with stakes in Ford Credit and Volvo, to raise the $18 billion. This is a huge gamble. My friends with a Ford dealership say the only things selling these days are Ford trucks -- with the F150 being most popular.

The Ford F150, a big mother.

Ford will use the $18 billion to to eliminate more than 40,000 jobs and close more than a dozen plants.

If that doesn't work, it's find a buyer (unlikely) or go bankrupt. Ford has done some really stupid things in the past, like buy:

+ Jaguar.
+ Aston Martin, and
+ Land Rover.

I have not been even remotely attracted to a Ford product in 30-years. My last Ford was a 1965 Mustang.

The benefits of religion:
A blond cowgirl, who is visiting Tennessee from Texas, walks into a bar and orders three mugs of Bud. She sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When she finishes them, she comes back to the bar and orders three more.

The bartender approaches and tells the cowgirl, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The cowgirl replies, "Well, you see, I have two sisters. One is in Australia, the other is in Dublin. When we all left our home in Texas, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my sisters and one for myself.

The bartender admits that this is a nice custom and leaves it there.

The cowgirl becomes a regular in the bar and always drinks the same way. She orders three mugs and drinks them in turn. One day, she comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent.

When she comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

The cowgirl looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in her eyes and she laughs. "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," she explains, "it's just that my husband and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking. Hasn't affected my sisters though."

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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