Investment Plays

No, it isn't a pretty picture. But take another look at the landscape--you may want in on the New Economy's next phase

Should you invest in the New Economy, Phase II? Dot-coms have dot-bombed, and even the "safe" Internet play--backing the chip-and-fiber companies filling the supposedly insatiable demand for e-commerce hardware--has proved hazardous to investors' wealth. But technology marches on, and when it does, you'll want your portfolio to be in the parade--not on the sidelines.

The next big thing could be in biotechnology, where dozens of companies are poised with potential medical breakthroughs. Trying to choose those with the best odds of getting a drug to market might better be left to a fund manager. Or it could be something as old-line as the power industry, where fuel cells and flywheels could someday revolutionize the way business buys and stores electricity.

For sure, there are bottom-fishing opportunities within the tech and telecom sectors. But don't place your bets too quickly. The boom has left behind a glut of everything from PCs to fiber-optic cable that could take years to work out. (Indeed, one of the best tech bets for now could be the "vulture funds" that are snapping up debt of disconnected telecoms.

As scary as the stock market is now, the biggest mistake would be to ignore it. The boom didn't last forever, and the bust will run its course as well. If you are selective and careful, you will find profits in New Economy II.

By Mike McNamee

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