I want to hear from you.
That’s a message that I want you to take to heart.
You see, the great thing about running a tech-investing letter like this one in the Age of the Internet is that I can actually respond to your ideas, questions and needs.
It wasn’t like that in the world of print publishing, where I spent much of my career. And I was always bothered by that fact.
That’s why, when I came here to launch Strategic Tech Investor, I vowed to make this service different – different than anything else available. As a well-connected expert on tech-sector trends, my goal is to give you insights, lessons and strategies that you’ll find nowhere else, and to cap that off with profit opportunities you can act on immediately.
Based on your quickly growing feedback, the approach seems to be working.
Question (Q): Is this a good time to invest in graphene? What graphene stocks would you suggest? ~ Obaa Y.
Answer (A):At present there is no “pure play” in graphene. By that I mean this is still a very early stage development, and to my knowledge there is no mine or plant in the world producing large quantities of commercial -grade graphene.
To get that, you need highly pure supplies of flake graphite, those that have almost zero defects. The industry isn’t there yet. So, if you get involved now, you need to have a high tolerance for risk and use capital you can afford to lose. Look on graphene as the “kicker” in graphite investing.
Two companies I like in this space are Flinders Resources (OTC: FLNXF; TSX.V: FDR) and Northern Graphite Corp. (OTC: NGPHF; TSX.V: NGC). I know the guys at Flinders. They are among the best miners on earth.
Now let’s move on to my Feb. 5 piece about how Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is pushing the advanced technology it refers to as “perceptual computing.”
Q: Very promising, indeed. But marketing success (and thus Intel’s investing future) depends more on how it can contribute to solving people’s daily needs and problems, not satisfying the curiosity of a few well-informed minds. ~ Alex C.
A: Alex, your comment hits the nail on the head. The hardest part of investing in cutting-edge tech is figuring out which ones are totally cool (but will go nowhere) and which will actually make us money.
To keep you all informed on the latest tech advances, I go through hundreds of companies a month. I focus on what I think will be the winners.
In the case of Intel’s perceptual computing play, it all gets down to how well the company can integrate with voice, touch and motion – and then use this know-how to support the wide array of laptops, smart phones and PDAs. Considering that they missed the mobile wave, I think this is a very smart move.
My “Fascinations of the Month” column for January drew a compliment (as well as a comment about my looks).
Q: Michael, I’m sorry to have to tell you that you look just like my extreme nutcase next-door neighbor. Don’t take that to heart, though – looks aren’t everything. I always read your e-mails and appreciate them very much. Keep up the great work and thanks. ~ Bill C.
A: Thanks for the kind words about my columns and my analysis of tech trends. They are very much appreciated. And Bill … as soon as I got your note I told production to crop my tin-foil hat out of my picture…
I really hit a nerve with my Jan. 22 note on a possible Alzheimer’s vaccine. It drew an amazing 24 comments. They were pretty wide-ranging in nature. Several lambasted the entire drug sector, reflecting the frustration that many consumers feel with the time and expense involved in development breakthrough treatments (as well as the maladies that go untreated because companies don’t see a big enough payoff). This one comment really captures that emotion.
Q: My Grandmother is in dire need of something like this. I can only hope it’s not just another B.S. money grab for an already disgustingly wealthy group of drug companies. If they really want to make a difference, then give it at cost. Enough profiteering from the elderly. ~ Gregory.
A: First, let me say I’m sorry to hear your grandmother is ailing. And I mean that. You see, my grandmother died a difficult death at the hands of pancreatic cancer. Your note stayed with me long after I read it.
This is one of those topics where it’s possible to see both sides. As I said, I do understand the frustrations that many of you feel.
Having said that, I worry what would happen without a capitalist incentive to create new drugs. And that isn’t “profiteering” in the classic sense of the term.
It can take 10 years and $1 billion to develop a successful new drug.
Companies move into a drug-development program with no guarantees of success. So they’ll often spend years – and invest hundreds of millions of dollars – researching a “compound” (drug candidate) they believe has great promise …only to see it fail in clinical trials, or get delayed, restricted or flat out rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That’s a common occurrence – much more common that most consumers or retail investors realize.
Outright rejections usually cause a company’s stock to collapse – limiting its ability to develop other drugs. And sometimes the companies don’t survive.
And even when a new drug is successfully approved, it usually has an exceptionally high break-even point. You’re not just paying for the research on that product but on the failures that led to it as well. Patent laws limit the length of time a company has to recoup its investment.
If you force firms to sell at “cost,” there’s no longer an incentive to take these risks and attempt to develop new therapies. Drug research will end tomorrow. And maladies that might have been cured will go untreated.
Just think about all the terrible diseases that were once commonplace – and the tragedies they caused that folks were forced to, well, accept. So many have disappeared because companies did research.
Let’s hope that so many of the other afflictions that plague us are eradicated, too. That way, people like Gregory’s grandmother won’t need to suffer needlessly.
On Jan.18, I told you about the rebound at Cray Inc. (NasdaqGS: CRAY) and how it has scored massive stock gains.
Q: Good story and it does seem that Cray is moving on. However much of the gain in the recent past seemed to be due to one large move up. This story would not be nearly as good without that massive buy. Any comments? ~ Robert J.
A: I’m really glad I got this question. See, I am a big-time chart guy. I run a trading service called Radical Technology Profits. So I look at hundreds of charts every month. And for months, Cray had a chart to die for.
The stock has made several moves up over the past year, mostly tied to positive earnings from a company in the midst of a turnaround. So the conditions were ripe for its third major leg up starting last November.
I put Cray into the Radical Tech portfolio last May 27. We’re up more than 75% on the half we still hold. And Cray’s not even our biggest gainer. We just took 103% gains on half of our biggest winner and are still up more than 110% on the other half.
Radical Technology Profits is a high-risk, high-return trading service with a solid track record. If you want to find out more about this service, take a look here.
Let me close with another investing question. This one stems from my Jan. 8 column on the boom in 3D printing technology.
Q: I enjoy reading your stock comments. But I am like one of your repliers in that I don’t know anything about investing or where to start. I would like to do my own investing instead of a broker. Can you help? ~ Sam
A: As a matter of fact I can. Because of the enthusiastic input that I’ve been getting from you, I will soon be launching a monthly newsletter that focuses on high-tech investing. Unlike Radical Tech, this new service will focus on helping subscribers find tech investments that can bring solid profits – without forcing them to take excessive risk.
We’re still in the planning stages for this service. But as soon as we have all the details settled and a date for launching I will be sure to let you know.
I’m really excited about this new service and hope that you’ll join me.
[Editor’s Note: When Michael says “I want to hear from you,” he means what he says. Do you have any follow-up questions to any of our columns? Would you like to offer feedback? Is there an area of tech you’d like to see more about? Don’t be afraid to drop us a line here at email@example.com. We’re always glad to hear from you.]