[Hmmm. This was supposed to run February 24. I posted it myself and it just . . . vanished. Thursday was supposed to be “Three Signs” followed by Friday, “Three Sites.” Don’t know what happened. Sorry. But here they are now: THREE SIGNS.]

1. My broker says that after the UPS guy and the FedEx gal drop off their packages every morning, they stop to get stock quotes. This is great — if they are long-term investors and we are widening the circle of ownership and prosperity, so that everyone has a stake in America (and, one day, the world). A little scary if they are hooked on the casino.

2. Goldman Sachs is having trouble recruiting. Once considered the absolute top job out of business school; now a lot of the best and brightest are headed for dot-coms. Who wants to wait 10 years for a shot at $5 million a year when you can grab $5 million in an IPO after 10 months? The thing is, this is what’s known as “a contrary indicator.” Often in the past, the hot field for b-school graduates has been the field that is peaking.

3. An outfit with no sales or earnings (or customers or appreciable assets), Pacific Century Cyberworks — which sports a $30 billion market valuation — is attempting to take over Hong Kong’s phone company . . . and is considered to have a reasonable chance of success.

Writes Tony L: “Some days I feel like I’m standing in a money rainstorm, yet somehow manage to stay completely dry. A friend invested his complete 401K fund and everything he could borrow in a $2 stock 8 weeks ago. He urged me to join, and I told him it was lunacy. Tried to point out the risks. Today the stock is worth $10. Several other friends went to work for dot-coms and are today worth seven figures. None of the dot-coms is remotely profitable, yet they are making stock millionaires of people who work there. It all seems to make a mockery of ‘sound’ investment principles.”

The future could not be more exciting or the Internet more real . . . but investment success this easy and giddy is unreal. (And there’s an old saying on Wall Street: Don’t Fight the Fed.) So promise me at least this much: You will not invest on margin. Margin loans are way up over last year, and I just hope you are not one of the borrowers.

Tomorrow: Some Things I Didn’t Know about John McCain


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