Dear Mr. Berko: In January 2015, I invested $200,000 in Chinese stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The Chinese stock market was as hot as a firecracker, and people I know were making big money quickly. Needless to say, it didn't work out for me. I bought 41 stocks, and my original $200,000 investment is now worth $127,000. Could you...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I am very nervous about the stock market and have been selling my weak stocks -- those that have weak financial statements and those I don't think will be able to keep their profit momentum during a big downturn. For example, I'm selling Ford and General Motors, my airline stocks, some of my real estate investment trusts, two ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: This year, I plan to put $6,500 in my individual retirement account into the American Funds Global Balanced Fund, which my stockbroker says will outperform the stock market in the coming decade. I am 60 and intend to work till I'm 70. What is your opinion of American Funds?
Also, a friend working for Constellation Brands ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: My stockbroker wants me to buy 400 shares of General Electric. Is he nuts? -- JS, Moline, Ill.
Dear JS: Last June, Jeff "Big Melt" Immelt, who took control of General Electric (GE-$18.47) from the iconic Jack Welch just before 9/11, announced he'd be stepping down as CEO. Good! He's been replaced by John Flannery, a 30-year GE...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: Could you please tell us what you think the stock market will do once this tax bill is in effect? All the people I know say that these tax cuts and changes are bearish and that the country will suffer because of these new rules and regulations. -- GD, Moline, Ill.
Dear GD: You should expand your people horizons.
The recent ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: Brinker International has increased its earnings and dividends every year since 2011 and expects to do even better in 2018, but the stock price went down in 2017, from $55 to $32. How can that be when sales and earnings continue to increase very nicely? Brinker recently raised its dividend to $1.52 and yields 4 percent. I'd ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I pay over $33,000 a year for health insurance for me, my wife and my four children. That's more than we've spent on doctor bills and medicine in the past 10 years for our whole family, including our 9-year-old black Lab. My insurance agent and I are good friends, so I'm reluctant to question his recommendations. So I was ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I've got a bug in my ear telling me to invest in water utility stocks. My parents live in Flint, Michigan, and my brother recently moved to Pensacola, Florida, and had to buy a water purifier. He says Pensacola has the worst water quality in the country. There are horror stories about water quality in Las Vegas, Detroit, ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I recently discovered Dollar Tree, and its prices are awesome. I buy everything there that I can, and I figure we save $65 to $70 a week for my family of six. I'm thinking of buying 150 shares for our joint account and 50 shares for my individual retirement account. What do you think? -- FD, Moline, Ill.
Dear FD: Dollar Tree (...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: What do you think of the big health insurance companies, such as Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group and Anthem? My stockbroker wants me to sell UnitedHealth Group short because he thinks President Donald Trump and his followers are going to cut medical costs by allowing insurance companies to reduce reimbursements to doctors and ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I'm a financial adviser with lots of money under management, and I and two others in our office need your help. Here's the problem, and then perhaps a personal letter from you to Oath, which is the name Verizon gave to its newly merged AOL-Yahoo organization, would help.
For two decades, we used the stock platform made ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: My wife and I have been reading your column for over 35 years, and we've made some good stock purchases from your recommendations. We have a $235,000 certificate of deposit that will come due soon and want to put $100,000 in a portfolio of stocks that will pay at least 6 percent, if possible. Even though we are in our mid-70s, ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I'm told that junk bonds yield 12 to 18 percent or even higher. I'd like to invest about $60,000 in junk bonds if I could get at least a 12 percent yield to maturity. I can afford the risk. My stockbroker recommended a bond yielding 15.3 percent and wants to show me other junk bonds he says pay safe, high income. What do you ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: We're both 73, and like most Americans, we're starving for yield but scared to reach. Our neighbor told us he just bought 150 shares of Westpac Banking Corp., an Australian company. We could buy 200 shares if you think the stock, including its dividend, is safe. Also, we are told that Iceland's money market accounts pay 4.25 ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 250 shares of General Electric at $27 over four years ago, and I'm tired of owning it. Please tell me what's wrong. Its performance has been so disappointing that I could cry. -- HS, Joliet, Ill.
Dear HS: General Electric's major problem is that during evolution, the ancestors of 11 of its board members were in the ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: My 83-year-old dad can no longer manage his $565,000 stock and bond portfolio, so it has become my responsibility, which I'm glad to take. I am an accountant and am familiar with the stock market. My dad and I, having read your column for nearly 35 years (I've been a reader since I was 20), trust your advice. Dad's portfolio ...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: Back in the summer of 2009, you told me to buy a company called Universal Display for my individual retirement account. The company has thousands of patents for the development of organic light-emitting diode technology, which is used in various solid-state lighting applications. It sounded good, so I bought 300 shares at $6.50...Read more
Dear Mr. Berko: I am 32 and recently got a doctorate in French history. After 14 years of attending classes, I will apply for my first ever job at UCLA, which would pay me about $55,000 a year. But first I will take nine months to go on a needed vacation and live with three friends in Marseille. I have about $173,000 in student debt but managed ...Read more
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
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