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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor.

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9:00 AM EST, Friday, October 10, 2008: Ask yourself a simple question: Would you personally buy anything in today's sinking, stinking stockmarkets? If you answer NO, as I answer, then your only action must be to buy some (not many -- we're talking gambling) of the ultra-short ETFs, which I recommended several days ago. Here is their performance just yesterday. They were pretty well the only green on my screen yesterday.

SSG is semiconductors, FXP is China, EEV is emerging markets, DXD is the Dow 30, TWM is the Russell 2000, and the QID is the Nasdaq index.

Sell on Rosh Hashanah. Buy on Yom Kippur. That's an old stockmarket maxim. Here's a chart of Dow during that 10-day period, which ended yesterday. It opened on September 29 at 11,139.62 and closed night at 8880.66 -- 20% lower.

If the maxim is true, and since Yom Kippur was yesterday, you should be buying equities today. I wouldn't.

How bad have things been? Here's a chart showing recent worldwide markets.

How much further can prices fall? Goldman Sachs has just issued a report called "Credit Crisis Contagion: Implications for the Global Economy and Financial Markets."

Plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities.
I am totally convinced that now is the perfect time to start a new business. There's been a rash of new banks started. I can name three in New York alone. Richard Branson is going into the mortgage business (see next item). And friends are buying up cheap homes and renting them out. They figure an 8% return -- not including any capital appreciation (if that ever happens).

Richard Branson promotes his new book.

From the writeup: Since his first business venture, publishing a student magazine in 1968, Richard Branson has become one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Today, his Virgin Group is recognized the world over and Branson is its charismatic public face. For the first time, Richard is prepared to share the inside track on some of his greatest business deals so that everyone can learn from his achievements—as well as his failures.

From his CNBC interview this morning:

CNBC: What's the one lesson you've learned from all your years in business?

Branson: To protect against disaster, to protect against the downside. When I started my first airline, I asked Boeing if they'd support me. They said yes. I'd buy one plane. But I said that if my airline didn't work, I wanted to be able to hand that plane back at the end of 12 months. They said yes. More businessmen would have benefited, if they had asked the question, 'What if house prices go down 20%.'

Branson explained he is now going into the home mortgage business in England. His rationale: "It's hard to get a mortgage at present. But there's a big demand."

Professional magicians.
“One of the reasons we are so deceived by bubbles is the same reason that we are deceived by professional magicians,” the Yale economist Robert Shiller wrote in Irrational Exuberance. “When clever persons become professionals at deceiving people, and devote years to perfecting an act, they can put seemingly impossible feats before our eyes and fool us, at least for a while. … When we have the equivalent of professional magicians running some of our companies or acting as some of our real estate brokers, we have to expect that what we see is not reality.”

RollingStone writes up John McCain
There's a long piece on McCain in the latest issue of RollingStone. It's worth reading. Click here.

Ghoulish humor.
+ I bought a toaster yesterday and was given a "thank you" gift -- a bank.

+ A new study reveals that the American public's approval of Congress is now only 14%. When told of the results, Congresspeople responded with surprise: "It's that high?"

+ Q: What's the difference between a pigeon and a banker?
A: A pigeon can still make a deposit on a BMW

The new words: The sub-prime mess had added richly to the English language. There is Ninja loan -- no income, no job and no assets. There are liar loans. And now comes trashout. Example citation: "They didn't have the money to get a moving van, so they took what they could throw in the car and took off," says a local man, whose business — clearing out abandoned houses — is booming. "We don't even know where they went." Clearing out a house is called a trashout. But people leave behind much more than trash. They leave computers, printers, flat-screen TVs, new furniture, children's toys — all the stuff that used to be so easy to buy on credit. Charities don't want it, and so it all goes in the dumpster. —Margaret Wente, "America's house of cards — make that, credit cards," The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2008

Teacher's Story; The Wisdom of children.
A teacher was reading the story of The Three Little Pigs to her class of six year olds. She came to the part of the story where 1st pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home.

She read . 'And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said: 'Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'

The teacher paused then asked the class: 'And what do you think the man said?'

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly ...'I think the man would have said - 'Well, I'll be damned!! A talking pig!'

The teacher had to leave the room.

The cruise (sick humor for sick times)

A cruise on the Pacific goes all wrong, the ship sinks, and there are only 3 Survivors; Bob, Bill and Debbie.

They manage to swim to a small island and they live there for a couple of years doing what's natural for men and women to do.

After several years of casual sex, all the time, Debbie felt absolutely horrible about what she was doing.

She felt having sex with both Bob and Bill was so immoral and bad that she killed herself.

It was tragic, but Bob and Bill managed to get through it. After a while, Bob and Bill's resistance to nature's urgings waned, and the inevitable happened.

Well, a couple more years went by and Bob and Bill began to feel absolutely horrible about what they were doing.

So they buried Debbie.

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.