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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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Seek annuity assurances, or sock cash into stocks (access required)

I'm a 74-year-old widow with an $87,000 certificate of deposit coming due next week. I visited two brokers. Each wants me to buy a variable annuity, and both sounded very good. I've enclosed my notes and the pamphlets and prospectuses in this envelope. What do you think? If you don't care for them, please recommend five or six stocks paying at least 5 percent that a gal like me could comfortably live with. I can afford moderate risks.

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Want higher CD yields? Say ‘oui’ to this investment (access required)

Like most of us, I am looking for higher yields on my certificates of deposit. I have a $7,000 CD, which paid 4.5 percent, that recently came due, and a neighbor, whose husband works in France for an American drug company, told me that they recently bought 300 shares of a French utility called GDF Suez, because it yields 9.2 percent.

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