Technology Investor 

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

Previous Columns
Sunday morning: Tennis rain update:
The completion of the Rafael Nadal vs. Andy Murray Men’s Semifinal match will take place Sunday beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Here is the full revised Sunday/Monday Match and Broadcast Schedule:

Women's Doubles Final
Sunday, September 7
1:00 pm EST
USA Network
Completion of Men's Semifinals
Sunday, September 7
4:00 pm EST
CBS Sports (at conclusion of NFL)
Women's Singles Finals
Sunday, September 7
9:00 pm EST
CBS Sports
Men's Singles Finals
Monday, September 8
5:00 pm EST
CBC Sports

9:00 AM EST, Friday, September 5, 2008: There are two theories:

A. Jim Cramer's. Things are getting better. Six reasons: 1. Improvement in housing. Bottom in housing stocks. 2. We have a plan to fix the banks. 3. Both candidates for president are eyeing tax cuts for the individual. 4. Commodities have crashed. That's good for companies making things from commodities. 5. Gasoline is coming down. 6. The consumer is still spending. Reflecting that, Wal-Mart is up 27% this year.

B. Pimco's Bill Gross. There's a possible "destructive financial tsunami" coming. From Gross's September letter:

This rarely observed systematic debt liquidation is what confronts the U.S. and perhaps even the global financial system at the current time. Unchecked, it can turn a campfire into a forest fire, a mild asset bear market into a destructive financial tsunami. Central bankers, of course, adopting the cloak and demeanor of firefighters or perhaps lifeguards, have been hard at work over the past 12 months to contain the damage. And the private market, in its attempt to anticipate a bear market bottom and snap up “bargains,” has been constructive as well. Over $400 billion in bank- and finance-related capital has been raised during the past year, a decent amount of it, by the way, having been bought by yours truly and my associates at PIMCO. Too bad for us and for everyone else who bought too soon. There are few of these deals now priced at par or above, which is bondspeak for “they are all underwater.” We, as well as our SWF and central bank counterparts, are reluctant to make additional commitments.

Step 2 on our delevering blackboard therefore has stalled and is inevitably morphing towards Step 3. Assets are still being liquidated but there is an increasing reluctance on the part of the private market to risk any more of its own capital. Liquidity is drying up; risk appetites are anorexic; asset prices, despite a temporarily resurgent stock market, are mainly going down; now even oil and commodity prices are drowning. There may be a Jim Cramer bull market somewhere, but it’s primarily a mirage unless and until we get the entrance of new balance sheets, and a new source of liquidity willing to support asset prices.

My own view? It's too early to jump back in. It's too hard to find Cramer's bull market. Cash remains king. There remains huge problems facing financials. Hence short the ones I mentioned yesterday -- Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wachovia, which were all down strongly yesterday and which are headed lower.

Key to remember: This market is not only a bear market; it's also a volatile market.

Volatile makes timing virtually impossible. Pimco screwed up. (See above.) The sovereign wealth funds bought into the banks too early and lost big. An me? I'm stupid, too. I sent $1 million to Australia. I bought Australian dollars at 96 cents. They're now 81 cents. That's a huge 16% drop, and a $160,000 loss on paper. If I think Australia remains solid, I should send more. The classic dollar averaging. But I'm not. I am reminded of John Maynard Keynes' profound statement: The stockmarket can stay irrational longer than I can stay solvent. And solvent is what I want to be.

How bad are things? Look what happened yesterday:

Thursday, September 4, 2008
Dow Jones Industrials
S&P 500
Russell 2000


Meantime, the August unemployment report released at 8:30 AM this morning was just plain awful. There were 84,000 fewer jobs in August. The unemployment rate is now up to 6.1% -- the highest it's been in five years. We're in a recession -- whether we call it that or not.

How do we improve this? There are two ways to help: First, the Fed cuts rates again. That won't work now. They're already very low. Second, fix housing and the financial sector. The Fed has done much of the fixing.

To sum up: we're going to have to wait this out. Meantime, more bear markets.

Long-term, it's fascinating to look at the indexes:

I continue to favor Cash is King. Remember my graphic from July 15?

Small wind turbines make little sense. I looked at buying a wind turbine for my house. It made no sense then. According to a New York Times piece, they still make no sense. Says the Times, "These tiny turbines generate so little electricity that some energy experts are not sure the economics will ever make sense."

Great aerial photos of London. Go here to the Big Picture. Shows what God could do if only He had digital camera, a helicopter and lots and lots of money.

Protect yourself against viruses: Reader Charlie McChesney writes:

You do not need to open an email attachment to activate some new viruses, they can run as a JavaScript when you open an email in Outlook, Outlook Express or your browser.

You should configure your anti-virus to automatically update every day at a time when you are not at your computer.

You should configure your AV program to run a scan every night when you are asleep...

Most AV programs can automatically check emails for virus problems too.

I use AVG Free 8.0.169 from Grisoft or AntiVir from Avira, the first is Czech and the second is German. Both work flawlessly for our home computers, don't forget that you can only have one anti-virus program running at a time. AntiVir is free for non-commercial use.. A few times when we have had a virus, they have caught it.

Uplifting quotes for the weekend.
+ There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -- Henry Kissinger.

+ The candidate had been talking on and on. Finally, he asked: "Are there any

"Yes," said a voice from the floor, "Who else is running?"

+ For every problem, there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken.

+ Too much of a good thing is wonderful. -- Mae West.

+ I have my faults. But being wrong is not one of them. -- Jimmy Hoffa.

+ Moses to God; "Let me get this straight. They get the oil and we get to cut off half our penises?"

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.