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Author Archives: Malcolm Berko

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You wheeze at the fees, but don’t knock the stock (access required)

My dad used to say, "The reason so many members of Congress and so many bankers are alive today is because it's illegal to shoot them." If you are depositing a check from the Bank of Iran, the Bank of Nigeria or the Bank of North Korea, I can understand "11 business days to clear." But you deposit a check from Monkey's Eyebrow, Ky. or Cuba, Kan. any morning of any day (except Saturday or Sunday), and it clears electronically at 2 p.m. that same day. If your bankster tells you differently, he/she is bloody dissembler.

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One weak plus one weak equals too weak (access required)

I recall that in 1997, the pudding-heads at the Federal Trade Commission put the kibosh on a proposed merger of Office Depot (ODP-$3.95) and Staples (SPLS-$13.25) because it feared the power of these two big-box stores. ODP and OfficeMax (OMX-$11.69) is a merger of two weak companies with a decade of declining revenues, cash flows, book values, earnings and share prices.

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At $10 a share, it’s a plunge into the risk pool (access required)

The stock market has had a phenomenal rise of more than 40 percent in the past 30 months. Unfortunately, none of my annuities or mutual funds or my good stocks – e.g., Microsoft, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Emerson Electric, General Electric, General Dynamics, Cisco and Procter & Gamble – has done as well, though my dividend income has increased. How much longer do you think the market will continue upward? Last year, you recommended some risky dividend stocks, and I bought all of them because they looked good and had nice dividend yield. On average, they are up 45 percent. I have $43,000 of speculative money remaining and want your recommendation of some cheap issues – about $10 a share – that might have some appreciation. I'd like to buy 1,000 shares of each. My broker at UBS recommended several issues, but his cheap-stock recommendations have failed in the past. What would you recommend?

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Ignore the cliche`s; focus on the stocks (access required)

I had $66,000 to speculate with. Last year, my neighbor introduced me to his son in another city who specializes in trading stocks. Now I have $47,000 left to speculate with. I know you seldom recommend trading stocks, but could you recommend about six speculative stocks that also have dividends? I'd like to buy a few hundred shares of each and also get income. I won't hold you to your recommendations. – KH, Wilmington, N.C.

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Is there a really good mechanic in the galaxy? (access required)

Four years ago, I lost my job, and because I used your "100-Plus Ben Franklin Savings Ideas," we were able to keep our household spending in order. That was a lifesaver. Thanks to you, it was simple. Why can't the government discipline its spending as we did and get its house back in order?

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