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Biotech Amylin Pharmaceuticals has had wild ups and downs. It is now working on drugs for diabetes and obesity. On Friday, the stock closed at $14.60. But in 1998, investors feared Amylin was headed for the ash can. The stock got below 50 cents. By 2007 it was above $53 — only to fall back again.

Some local tech stocks have good but not great records. Stock of semiconductor-equipment maker Cymer has moved up fairly well since its 1996 public offering. Medical-device maker DexCom has moved up modestly since its $10 offering in 2005.

Some techs and biotechs have done very well. Carlsbad’s Life Technologies, a maker of biotech tools, was created out of a merger in late 2008 and was trading then at $22. Friday it closed at $55.25. ResMed, maker of sleep apnea equipment, rose from 75 cents in 1995 to Friday’s $32.99. Wireless and satellite communications systems maker ViaSat rose from $4.50 in 1996 to $42.70 Friday.

Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest company, has rewarded shareholders well. The company recently made an acquisition broadening its telecom reach. “The most exciting new opportunity for Qualcomm may come from new inroads into the personal computer and tablet markets,” says Brian Colello of Morningstar. Then there’s WD-40, which for four decades sold only its ubiquitous lubricant and later branched out to a few related products. Its price has slowly doubled in the past seven years. For ethical reasons, I can’t buy San Diego stocks. But if I could, I would buy WD-40, which closed Friday at $37.80. I don’t like these wild ups and downs of the techs and biotechs. And WD-40 is not a tech. ■

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Visduh Jan. 20, 2011 @ 9:09 a.m.

WD-40 (WDFC) is up 6 cents per share this morning (1/20/11) at 9am local time. Yet the S&P 500 is down about 0.5% at the same time. Did Don's sort-of recommendation cause this uptick? Hmmm.

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2011 @ 10:15 a.m.

I think this morning's action is happenstance. But I think the market will be looking for blue chips with decent dividends and reliable earnings. WD-40 fits that bill. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Jan. 20, 2011 @ 11:27 a.m.

Hello, Don. This is off topic, but I'm unsure as to where I could post this. I think it's worth mentioning. I've filed it in the "Greed Kills" category.

http://www.musiccitymiracles.com/2011/1/20/1945546/nfl-offering-200-tickets-to-stand-outside-super-bowl-stadium

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2011 @ 1:57 p.m.

On reading it the first time, I thought it was incredible. Then I thought it's not so incredible. People now go to pro football games for a total entertainment experience that, in the new Dallas stadium, includes watching the game not only on the field but on a gigantic TV screen. For $200, damned fools can tell people, only half lying, that they went to a Super Bowl. The question remains: why not save the $200 and watch it at home on your HD TV? There's another question: why should taxpayers finance this kind of a stadium that only benefits a chosen few? Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Jan. 20, 2011 @ 4:06 p.m.

I catch your drift, in a "P.T. Barnum-sucker born every minute-give the people what they want" sort of way. I guess I'm left wondering why would ANYone want that? I have always been bewildered by the perceived need to set (break) attendance records. Who cares???? Except the money-changers? Reminds me of the city fathers (before city mothers were "tolerated") during the Sixties, when they unabashedly clamored for people to move to sunny San Diego, so that they could lay claim to enabling San Diego to ascend the population charts, when frequent U-T stories announced that SD was now the 12th, or the 10th, or the whateverth largest city. The more things change.....

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Don Bauder Jan. 20, 2011 @ 7:53 p.m.

You've got it pegged. The only beneficiaries are the overlords. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Feb. 1, 2011 @ 10:43 p.m.

Back to the topic:

Any grizzled veteran of software development has tales to tell of "vaporware" being sold to the gullible. As Don says, there's a lot of government supplied liquidity sloshing around, and such easy money will be easily misspent.

I like WD40 too. It's real. It works. It's distinctive (that smell). When I first met my wife, I saw she had a small canister of WD40 under the sink...I knew we'd get along fine.

Beware of companies that are "exciting". They're the ones most likely to be all hype and no substance...like sports-entertainment businesses.

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Don Bauder Feb. 2, 2011 @ 7:32 a.m.

Well said. Vaporware is what this game is all about. Watch out for tech IPOs, in particular. Best, Don Bauder

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