DEAR MR. BERKO: I’m a 57-year-old woman who has been unemployed for three years, but not for lack of trying. My 57-year-old husband is a self-employed engineer and works from a home office. Our retirement portfolio is just getting back to where it was six years ago and is now almost $200,000. But this is [...]
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.
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.
About five months ago, you wrote a coin column and told about some of the coins you own and how some of the collectible coins have gone up in price.
DEAR MR. BERKO: Please explain why the government is suing Standard & Poor’s and its parent, McGraw-Hill. I bought 235 shares of McGraw-Hill at $21 in March 2009. I bought them because I had this bee in my bonnet telling me to. The stock went up to $58 this January, and I had the same [...]
A money manager you introduced me to in early 2007 has barely done a fair job of running my portfolio. In each of the past six years, I've taken out 6 percent, and my portfolio value is barely up from $500,000, which I started with, to $553,000.
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?
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.
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?
I've recommended Bank of America's 7.25 percent convertible preferred stock a few times, when it traded between $675 and $775 several years ago, but I've never recommended the Bank of America (BAC-$12.45) common stock – though I did come dangerously close in late 2011, when the common traded at $5.