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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 Monday, October 10, 2005: My head is turning to Cockroach stocks. There are two reasons. It's really hard to find stocks to be positive about, especially long-term. It's really easy to see disasters approaching. The problem is turning one's head. Let's try, for a moment.

Home builders and finance stocks (including, for example Fannie Mae), have benefited from the housing boom. We know that's ebbing. Energy is hurting transportation. Automobile and airline stocks are being hit -- though there's not much left to be hit there, except GM.

Some stocks have had their run at the stars and are now falling back to earth -- i.e. energy, e.g. Valero.

Others are being affected by accelerating technology, e.g. newspapers are a disaster vis a vie the Internet. More and more of us have broadband. My kids read everything online. There'd be hell to pay if Daddy didn't provide 2 megs a second. My kids rarely read a dirty newspaper when they can read a clean laptop, using Daddy's passwords.

There are plenty of special Cockroach situations. Think Peter Lynch in reverse. He used to buy stocks of companies whose products he liked. I need to sell products of companies I don't like. My favorite, most disliked product is presently Blackberry. I got one because my son Michael got himself one. Conceptually I liked the idea. But I've come to hate my Blackberry 7250, and its incredibly poor design. Worse, I've come to hate the maker, Research in Motion (RIMM) and its hard-to-reach, greedy management. My favorite: the chairman and the president have awarded themselves $91 million of stock options. That's $91 million for each. The CFO has $29 million. One COO has $24 million. The other COO has $22 million. All these awards come directly out of the pockets of stockholders.

I thought of sharing the litany of things I don't like about my Blackberry. I'd fill several columns. My favorite is that it has no spam filter. As a result, the email that arrives on my Blackberry is 90% junk. You can imagine how much time that wastes. In contrast, my laptop's email software is Microsoft Outlook, which has an excellent spam filter. Needless to say, it's all over for RIMM. Palm which makes the excellent, though overly large Treo, has just dropped its Palm software in favor of Microsoft's mobile Windows. Research in Motion is dead. It so happens that Microsoft believes there's money to be made by having its Windows operating system on every portable device. And you know what? They're right. Bye, bye RIMM.

This was Nasdaq until early 2000.

This has been housing. Notice any similarity?

How things are changing: There were more bicycles sold in the U.S. in the past 12 months than cars.

Why conventional wisdom should always be questioned:
Two Australians won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine. They proved that inflammation in the stomach (gastritis) as well as ulceration of the stomach or duodenum (peptic ulcer disease) is the result of an infection of the stomach caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Previously everyone believed stress caused ulcers. Our father's generation suffered the excruciating pain of ulcers when a short regimen of antibiotics and acid secretion inhibitors would have cured them.

Ulcers are no longer studied by the medical community in Australia. The reason? There aren't any to study. Everyone in Australia has been cured.

Why you should always question Wall Street advertising.
Deutsche Bank is back advertising "A passion to perform." The slogan doesn't mean it has a passion to perform for its clients. It means it has a passion to perform for itself, creating products and fees that give customer ripoff a whole new meaning.

Time to sacrifice something or someone? In Pakistan, goats are often sacrificed to improve the performance of the stock market. Sad about that earthquake.

How democracy is introduced to the Middle East. From the October 10 issue of the conservative magazine National Review:

A presidential election in Egypt is a foregone conclusion, and indeed Hosni Mubarak has just been elected to his fifth consecutive six-year term as president. All this time he has ruled by emergency decree, though the real emergency is his despotism. Bush policy is pushing the pace of events in the Middle East, and Mubarak had to consent to the unprecedented step of allowing other candidates to run against him, nine of them in all. He made sure to vet them. The only permitted Islamist, for example, was 90 years old and had a platform of restoring the fez as national headdress. The United States had to pressure Mubarak to allow Ayman Nour out of prison in time to run as a serious democratic reformer. Blatant fraud and stuffing of ballot boxes further ensured Mubarak’s victory, but only 23 percent of the electorate turned out, showing what Egyptians really think of these proceedings.

God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers. Tonight BBC Two at 9 PM begins a three part series called Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs. In it, Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

The series charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from President Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999/2000 to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last August. Presidents and Prime Ministers, their generals and ministers tell what happened behind closed doors as peace talks failed and the intifada exploded.

"He's never made such comments," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace - Mondays 10, 17 and 24 October, from 9.00 to 10.00pm on BBC TWO.

Why I dislike Fortune Magazine. Insightful statements from the latest October 17 issue:

+ America wouldn't be where it is today without Chapter 11. -- page 34.
+ There's nothing fuzzy about buying low and selling high. -- page 34.
+ When I first started doing it (carving faces into pumpkins), I didn't realize that the juice inside has a lot of acid in it. I almost lost the fingernails on my hands from the pumpkin juice. Now I wear gloves. -- page 54.
+ She is about to become so rich, so famous, that a year from now the girl teeing up today (Michelle Wie) will no longer exist. -- page 86.
+ Sure, they're richer than you. And smarter. And they have more friends, faster cars, bigger houses, and hotter dates than you ever will. -- page 139.
You don't want hear any more. Suffice, this magazine is irrelevant.

Great Costco bargain. Great for backing up your many computers:

The wise old Indian chief:
An old Indian chief sat in his hut on the reservation, smoking a ceremonial pipe and eyeing two U.S. government officials sent to interview him.

"Chief Two Eagles," asked one, "You have observed the white man for over 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done."

The Chief nodded in agreement.

The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

The Chief stared at the government officials for over a minute and then calmly replied. "When white man found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver. Women did all the work. Medicine man free. Indian man spent all day hunting and fishing, then all night having sex."

Then the chief leaned back and smiled ..... "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

Recent column highlights:
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click here.
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click here.
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click here.
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ All turned on by biotech. Click here.
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available: Click here. The full audio is available. Click here.
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click here.
+ When to sell stocks. Click here.

Harry Newton

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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