Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.
8:30 AM EST, Friday, November 9, 2007: Recession,
Yes or No? Stockmarket Up or Down? I read zillions articles
on the economy in the last few days. I read what Bernanke said yesterday --
he ain't no Greenspan. And he ain't comforting. In fact, he's downright scary.
I talked a man who manages $15 billion of other peoples' money (including a
little of mine). He loves financials -- AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, CountryWide
Financial, J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch.
last thing I want to own are financials, since, to my mind, they are the classic
cockroach stocks. I have no idea where this sub-prime contagion is going to
end or lead to. The the contagion will keep appearing. Several big finanancials
(e.g. Morgan Stanley) have already warned to expect more writeoffs. I fear worse.
I fear that much consumer credit card debt is now valueless. There's been a
big explosion of it -- it happened just after the mortgage companies and the
banks had stopped lending to deadbeats. The subprime deadbeats simply moved
to credit cards to finance their inexorable spending.
money manager says he's figured "the worst case scenario" and
he reckons a 50% gain in 18 months on these stocks. It's a "deep value"
was a time in the early 1990s when deep discount value financial plays worked.
At one point Citigroup looked as though it was going out of business altogether
because of crappy loans on commercial real estate. The stock eventually recovered
handsomely and at least one Saudi prince make a bundle. And, it has come down
call me and ask, "Is now the time to buy?"
one can time the stockmarket, especially this insanely volatile one. Viewed
in the context of the past two years, and the market is still looking pretty
good. Look at the chart, draw some trend lines and conclude that now may well
be a good time to buy.
I wouldn't be
buying financials (of all types), home builders, and companies who play in homes,
like Home Depot.
I do like oil,
agriculture, mining and selective healthcare.
When you read
articles and predictions on the econony by economists, remember what my economics
professor said: God made economists to make astrologists look good.
friend's phone service suddenly became awful: It
was classic finger-pointing. Verizon said it was his phone system. The phone
system vendor said it was Verizon's fault. And there they stood while Rome burned
and my friend's law practice slide slowly into oblivion. Fact is it's real easy
to figure out whose fault it is. You got to find something called the demarcation
point -- where the phone company meets the phone system. You split the two,
and test the lines. If the lines don't work, it's the phone company's fault,
and vice versa.
do this, you have to some basic test equipment around. And that's clearly what
he didn't have. There's an obvious lesson here.
customer service should really be:
I returned a defective track lighting fixture
to Lightolier's president. A week later I received a brand new replacement.
No questions asked. I called Bose and asked if there was something I could do
about my earphones, whose plastic earbuds kept falling off. They said, "we
know about that problem. Return them to us." A week later I received a
brand-new replacement earphone. I'm listening to them now as I write this. The
Bose earphones, called TriPort IE, are genuinely wonderful.
The $99 Bose TriPort IE work well with my Apple iPods.
made easy. My favorite
webhoster is ICDSoft. Web.com hosts this site. They're the ones who screwed
up recently. In sympathy, reader Tom Ramey writes:
Since you had
some trouble over the webhosting issue this week, I thought I'd email a few
outfits I've used this last decade, that I liked. I have ALL my sites, and
a few of those of friends, on my own webservers. currently (though I think
it's just good policy to spread your enterprises websites around to several
vendors in different parts of the country). But here's a few suggestions:
-- very technically competent with anything Microsoft (Sharepoint hosting
for instance, .NET hosting) and things like database-driven sites. Owned and
operated by the Ritter brothers, based in Edmonton, Canada, and a Microsoft
Gold certified partner. Will talk to you on the phone. And you can make deals
with them other than shown on the "ratecard". Contacts:
Larry Strange, email@example.com
one-man hosting outfit, he's make deals with you too. His expertise is in
streaming media hosting, Powerpoint hosting, Sharepoint, etc. Can produce,
edit, videos to put online too. Based in Philadelphia I think.
Godaddy.com is as good as it gets for cheap and cheerful webhosting.
4) You could
buy your own server from www.ColoMachines.com
or TigerDirect.com, and maybe
buy WEBppliance easy user interface software from www.Ensim.com , get a Static-IP
account from your broadband provider, and host your own website(s), it's pretty
simple for old guys like us with 30 years of knife wounds from computers.
(and almost all internet services for that matter) you DON'T want to deal
with the big companies (they are DIFFICULT to talk to, and don't give a rats
ass about you), rather you want the VERY SMALL vendor, 2 or 3 guys is ideal,
because you can get them on the phone easily, and they'll do what you want
them to do, fix anything pronto, etc.
sucks less today: The
service I use to produce the pretty charts -- like this one from yesterday --
is called QCharts.
It took six phone
calls to their tech support to finally pry out of someone that there was a serious
bug in their software and they know about it -- but they just don't like telling
their customers. It turns out everytime you look up a ticket symbol, some bad
software code gets loaded and eventually the software blows up. Easy solution
(if only they had told me the first time): don't look up ticket symbols. (Use
the Wall Street Journal, for example.)
do I think this funny?
I wonder what
people did in the old days when they had too much time on their hands -- maybe
read a book? Talk to their kids?
your heart out.
going to school for the day. My son has invited me
to sit in on two of his business school classes.
I've read both two cases. I'm prepared. I've been told: "No talking."
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
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here and here.