War Is Good for Lockheed Martin Profits

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 75 shares of Lockheed Martin in late 2016 at $260 a share after reading your column praising the stock. You said that it had good dividend growth and that revenues and profits would continue to grow at an uninterrupted pace. I also remember that in some other column, you claimed that wars and the "expectation of ...Read more

Medtronic, Si or No?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I'm writing for a 46-year-old friend of mine who escaped Cuba and came to the U.S. in 1981. I told him to write to you, and he did so in Spanish (he doesn't speak English) to ask what to do with the 319 shares of Medtronic PLC stock he inherited. Your response -- "Write me in English and I'll answer your question" -- was ...Read more

Owens & Minor Looks Good

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: What is your opinion of Owens & Minor, which is in the medical supply business? I have $9,600 in cash sitting in my individual retirement account, and my dopey stockbroker, who has never been right in 12 years, recommends 400 shares. Please advise ASAP. -- BC, Oklahoma City

Dear BC: Oftentimes customers become confused about ...Read more

Analyzing Credit Acceptance Corp.

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My elder sister, who never married and who worked for a large automobile dealer in Detroit, passed away last year, and her estate was finally settled. My remaining sister and I were the sole inheritors of a huge portfolio of 16 stocks, valued at $732,000. All the stocks are well-known blue chips except for 300 shares of Credit ...Read more

Illinois Municipals and INST

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: What do you think of buying $50,000 worth of the recently issued 3.75 percent Illinois general obligation bonds due in 2028? And please tell me about Instructure. If you approve, then I'll buy 1,000 shares. -- RS, Akron, Ohio

Dear RS: If you understand and can afford the risks, then buy the general obligation bonds. These GO ...Read more

Don't Lower the Bar

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: California wants to lower the minimum score needed to pass the bar exam. Passing scores on the ACT and the SAT have been lowered. Dayton, Ohio, lowered its requirements for the police exam. Colleges give courses online. States let applicants take physician licensing exams in Spanish. Banks make auto and home loans to people ...Read more

Teaching the Art of Begging

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Readers: Through the years, people I don't know -- probably nice and sincere people -- have asked me for money. They've asked for money to buy a used car, to invest in a patent, to buy two water scooters, to move to Australia, to purchase a red Corvette, to fix a roof and to build a grow house for pot production. One reader had a treasure...Read more

B&G: Buy and Grow

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Please tell me what you can about B&G Foods -- its products, management and financials. I may buy 200 shares for my individual retirement account because my stockbroker insists it will double in price, from $37 to the $70s, by next summer. Even if it doesn't double, I like the stock because it pays a 5.6 percent dividend. ...Read more

Is a 30,000 Dow Possible?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Last February, you said the Dow Jones industrial average could pass 30,000 in 10 years. Considering the possibility of higher interest rates, dangerous international situations -- Brexit, Catalonia, the Kurds, North Korea, global warming, the Middle East, Afghanistan, the economic failure of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Brazil and ...Read more

Can Amazon Keep Going Up?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: In January 2015, I bought 300 shares of Amazon at $342 a share, and it just kept going up and up. I never thought Amazon could rise so much that quickly. This year, my shares increased by more than 300 points, and I'm very nervous because I have such a large profit and could lose it all if the company's earnings were to fall or...Read more

Sears and Coke

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Sears finally reported a profit last May -- $2.28 a share. My stockbroker had me buy 1,000 shares in early June at $7 because he thought Sears had turned the corner to profitability. He insists Sears will trade in the low $10s this year and wants me to buy 1,000 more shares. What do you think? And what do you think of Coca-Cola...Read more

FINRA's Coming Database, S&P and Moody's

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My brother-in-law, who is a longtime human resources officer with a New York Stock Exchange brokerage, told me that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is establishing a new database to improve regulatory enforcement. This database will include information about all Americans' brokerage accounts, their personal ...Read more

Our Tax System

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: This is our third request for a copy of your column. Two years ago, our investment club read and discussed what you wrote about 10 families paying taxes at different rates because of income differences. It showed how our tax system favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor. It's become a hot topic of discussion at club ...Read more

Just Buy It

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My 19-year-old daughter is a saver and wants to buy 47 shares of Nike. I don't know enough about stocks to advise her. What can you tell me about Nike? Would she be making a wise decision? -- FS, Kankakee, Ill.

Dear FS: Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, was born in January 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports. BRS initially operated ...Read more

Get Rid of Qualcomm?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: In November 2016, my stockbroker had me buy 200 shares of Qualcomm at $71.25 for income and growth. It's now $51, and my broker wants me to sell the stock and take a $4,050 loss. He said Qualcomm is being sued by Apple, and he thinks it could really hurt the company. Please explain what the suit is about. And would you also ...Read more

Fed Chairs

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Could you give your opinions of recent chairs of the Federal Reserve Board -- namely, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen? -- TD, Akron, Ohio

Dear TD: I believe I know enough about economics, money and banking to spend a month of evenings talking with Janet Yellen about how she and her colleagues run the Federal ...Read more

Schumpeter vs.

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: recently agreed to sell Nike products. Amazon can sell Nike's merchandise for less than retail stores can, and according to my college professor, this is a first step toward taking over Nike. Amazon currently owns Whole Foods Market and Zappos. It's huge in the video business. It's forcing Barnes & Noble out of the ...Read more

Hold Boeing?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: In January 2010, you advised me to invest $10,000 in Boeing. I bought 157 shares at $63. Thanks to you, I've quadrupled my money, and the $5.68 dividend, which has increased every year, is a 9 percent yield on my cost. Thank you from my heart. Now I wonder whether I should sell Boeing because Airbus is leading the market with ...Read more

Schwab and Customer Service

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I'm 83 and a conservative investor. My stockbroker of 21 years retired from his six-man firm, and my $166,000 individual retirement account isn't big enough for Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley. I'm sharp enough to manage my account. And I won't make any big changes, because I own quality electric, natural gas and ...Read more

Talking Funds

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My wife and I are engineers, and we're in our late 40s. In June 2015, you recommended a group of single-country exchange-traded funds, and we bought 800 shares of the iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF at $15. It's now about $31, and our stockbroker wants us to sell this ETF and put the money in the Putnam Global Health Care Fund, ...Read more


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