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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, Monday, November 5, 2007: Today's web site was late because webhoster is useless. They messed up, again. I like webhoster ICDSoft, which I use for my newer sites.

Citigroup has become the latest cockroach stock. And for now, its ails are depressing the entire market. That might produce some bargains. For now (and forever), it's good to have a little cash around.

The BIG news is how oil's high price is messing with energy tradeoffs. From Bloomberg today:

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Now that the price of coal is at a historic low relative to oil, there's no stopping consumers and producers alike from embracing Al Gore's nightmare.

A ton of U.S. coal is so cheap at about $47 that European utilities will pay $50 to ship it across the Atlantic, according to Galbraith's Ltd., a 263-year-old London shipbroker. While oil and coal cost the same as recently as 1998, West Texas Intermediate crude is now five times more expensive after climbing to a record $96.24 on Nov. 1.

Peabody Energy Corp., Consol Energy Inc. and Arch Coal Inc., the three biggest U.S. coal companies, forecast the largest increase in exports in 20 years, degrading the call for a moratorium on coal plants by former U.S. Vice President and this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. Coal use worldwide has grown 27 percent since 2002, three times faster than crude, said BP Plc. U.S. East Coast coal has risen 71 percent, while oil tripled on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Coal is by far the cheapest fuel because there's no price on how much damage it causes,'' said John Holdren, a Harvard University professor of environmental science and director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. "Unless you get policies to put a price on carbon dioxide and other emissions, no other plants can compete.''

U.S. coal prices are equal to $1.98 for each million British thermal units of energy, compared with $12.51 for fuel oil and $6.91 for natural gas, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A million British thermal units is the equivalent of eight gallons of gasoline.

Jim Kingsale writes "ASPO Recap: Oil Supply to Fall Off a Cliff…Strategy Adjustment to a Changed Market" My friend Jim writes Energy Investment Strategies (E.I.S.). In his latest piece, he writes "October was a satisfying month for the E.I.S. portfolio. Not so much because it gained over 7%, and is up over 39% YTD. Rather because it outperformed the energy and general market averages which indicates that the E.I.S. strategy is adding value." This latest piece talks about what he learned at a recent ASPO meeting. ASPO is the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

For veteran observers, there was one piece of big news and a lot of getting our minds around the magnitude of the issues. The discussion was organized around the basic tenants of the peak oil problem:

• Rapidly growing demand for energy, particularly oil

• Stagnating oil supply growth caused mainly by rapid decline rates

• Growing reluctance of some oil exporters to maximize output, otherwise called hoarding or “resource nationalism”, and

• The rising price of oil resulting from the above and how that can and will be mitigated by demand destruction, increased efficiency, and alternative supplies.

Jim concludes:

Moreover, I have taken a direct lesson from the ASPO show theme, which was “Time for Another Great Leap.” For some time during the show, I pondered those words, so suggestive of one of those Chinese 5-year plan slogans, and for a while I was frankly not able to figure out what they meant. Then it finally dawned on me: it was “leap” as in “LEAP” — the long term equity option securities. That made it clear: what was needed, given my view of the price of oil, is to buy LEAPs on oil itself and/or on companies that own a lot of oil. I will close with that thought for your consideration.

For Jim's excellent entire piece, click here.

Why Pakistan's Musharraf imposed emergency rule. From a NYTimes book review, "A few hundred intertwined families, many rooted in the military, maintain an anti-development chokehold on the country’s wealth and political system. 'Why some militaries become key players in a country’s power politics is an issue that has puzzled many,' writes the Pakistani analyst Ayesha Siddiqa in “Military Inc.” Her answer is that the brass is protecting its gold."

The extraordinarily high cost of divorce: My friend is using an attorney in London. He charges $1,523.54 an hour. (I converted the English rate to U.S. dollars.)

My bank manager is called Ania Brzozowska. She is Polish. She has a friend in Poland who recently married and now carries a hyphenated last name -- joining her name and her husband's. He new surname is now Brzeczyszczykiewicz -- Jaroszynska.

Michael runs the NYC Marathon:


37,000 people ran, while two million looked on. You've never experienced anything like the collective energy.

Everyone was routing for someone. Most everyone had a sign. It was special.

Every company and their uncle sponsored something. The main sponsor was ING. I saw Avis, asics, foot locker, bengay, Vitamin Shoppe and Poland Spring.

The winner, Martin Lel of Kenya took two hours nine minutes. People were still finishing at 10 PM, 12 hours later.

Michael about 100 feet from the finish line.

When you finish you get a gold medal. Michael looks happy with his.

Molvanîa -- A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry. This is a travel book to a fictitious country somewhere in central Europe.

I'm not going to spoil your fun by telling you what's in the book. It's the funniest book I've read in eons. It reads and looks like all those travel books we buy -- replete with maps, photos and illustrations. But the book is one gigantic brilliant spoof. I can't stop laughing. Buy one today for yourself and all your friends. Click here.

Three actual country music song titles:

1. "Thanks to the Cathouse, I'm in the Doghouse with You."

2. "You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat)."

3. "I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me."

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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