Is iRobot a Good Buy?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Almost a year ago, we bought our first home, which has an enclosed pool. We never expected that a pool would require so much work. After months of cleaning it, we decided to buy a pool cleaner. We bought one from our neighborhood hardware store, and it works like a charm. We're delighted with it, and it saves my wife and me from ...Read more

Robotics Investment

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I've lost money buying several stocks in the robotics industry. It seems that they go up when I don't buy them and go down when I do. I bought Intuitive Surgical shares at $398, and a month later, the stock price fell by 30 points, so I took a huge loss. I bought Zebra Technologies shares at $111 and sold them at $80 three ...Read more

Patterson for the Long Term

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My stockbroker is recommending that I buy 1,000 shares of Patterson Companies Inc. The stock yields 4.6 percent and has increased the dividend every year since it began paying dividends. He says the stock has hit bottom at $23, and he believes that this would be a good long-term investment because management is turning the ...Read more

EPD and Plastic Bags

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: What do you think of Enterprise Products Partners? I want to buy a good income stock (at least 6 percent) with a safe dividend that should increase each year. A stockbroker suggested this stock, and I'd appreciate your opinion. Also, I am on an anti-plastic bag campaign and would like to sell a stock short that makes these ...Read more

A Banking Investment

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I want to own a bank stock. I am very conservative and don't care for risk, so I'm thinking of buying 200 shares of Bank of America, which has been doing business for over 50 years, as a safe investment. What do you think? -- PR, Erie, Pa.

Dear PR: Thanks to founder A.P. Giannini, the Bank of Italy was San Francisco-born in ...Read more

What's the Deal With Rite Aid?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I bought Rite Aid stock at $6 in 2015, thinking the rumored buyout by Walgreens would give me a nice short-term profit. Could you explain to me what happened to the stock? Does Albertsons or Walgreens own Rite Aid? Do you think I will ever break even? -- HL, Oklahoma City

Dear HL: Albertsons, a large nonpublic grocery chain, ...Read more

Airline Stocks

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I have a large portfolio of conservative issues that pay good dividends. Now I'd like to be more aggressive and own some issues that could improve my portfolio's growth better than the dividend stocks I own. I just want some more upside in my portfolio.

The economy is improving, and that's good for the airline industry, so I ...Read more

Buy PPL for Dividend Growth

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My husband and I are both 73 years old and in excellent health. Both of us retired 10 years ago from Monsanto, and we get a nice pension. We discovered your column about nine months ago. You don't write like other stock advisers. Your common sense and humor appeal to us. We don't own any stocks. All our cash ($535,000) is in ...Read more

Is Southern Co. a Good Buy?

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: We have a $17,000 certificate of deposit coming due and are thinking of buying 300 shares of Southern Co. because of the 5.3 percent yield. We found that the stock has fallen by 9 points in the past three months. What do you think? -- LW, Kankakee, Ill.

Dear LW: Southern Co. (SO-$43.82) dominates the power business across the ...Read more

Politics and McDonald's

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: You've never expressed your political opinions. Some of us had hoped you'd comment on Donald Trump's presidency. You've made many pointed comments about the House and Senate, but you have never commented about our country's political direction. I and others in my area would like to read your comments.

Next question. My ...Read more

Good Advice From a Different Guy

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My 84-year-old dad is not well and was a very avid reader of your column until he got sick. He would send your columns to me every week with comments. Two years ago, he had a stroke. According to his brokerage statement, he owns two stocks: 400 shares of Citigroup and 3,000 shares of MGIC Investment Corp. In January 2009, he ...Read more

Alimony and Utilities

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: Could you comment on the changes in tax law that affect alimony payments? As a soon-to-be-divorced 52-year-old man, how do they affect me? I will take a huge hit after we sign our divorce papers, though fortunately, it's a friendly divorce after 26 years and three kids. I have taken a powder in the market and need to be more ...Read more

AmeriGas Is That Animal

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My spouse and I are both in our early 60s, and we have $10,000, with the hope of being able to get an 8 to 9 percent return. I know this may be a high reach because we don't want to own any volatile issues. If there is such an animal that could give us this return, with moderate risks, we'd be very appreciative. -- PC, Akron, ...Read more

Re-evaluating Investments

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: In 2009, when I was 78, I had $70,000 in cash to invest long term for my grandchildren. I wrote to you for advice after my stockbroker had me invest $10,000 in each of the following stocks: Signet Jewelers at $6, Costco at $44, Macy's at $12, Sears at $69, Bed Bath & Beyond at $23, Fossil Group at $14 and Hibbett Sports at $15....Read more

New Look at Newell

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: What happened to Newell? I bought 500 shares at $43 in September of 2017. My broker tells me to sell the stock and take a loss and wants me to put the proceeds in American Funds New Perspective. Your advice would be appreciated. -- JM, Moline, Ill.

Dear JM: New Perspective (ANWPX) is a good fund with a good record and a sweet ...Read more

Making Money on Margin

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I got a $10,000 bonus from my employer in January and put it with a broker in early February. He has made four trades, including a biotech stock with a funny name I've never heard of. My account is now worth $12,200. He said if he had my account on margin, then he could have made twice as much money. Is that true? I asked how ...Read more

Opinions on Uniti Are Not United

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: What can you tell me about a company called Uniti Group, which has a 15.49 percent dividend yield? Do you think the dividend is safe, and would you buy the stock for long-term growth and income? My stockbroker -- who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the company is based -- is aggressively recommending the stock, and his ...Read more

MasterCard and Consumer Debt

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: My brother, who does well in the stock market, told me to buy 100 shares of MasterCard. He thinks that President Donald Trump's economic policies and infrastructure spending will grow corporate earnings and give more people jobs and many people higher-paying jobs. He says that these people will spend their money rather than ...Read more

Mint Scheme

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I saw in a recent edition of USA Today that the federal Mint is offering (to use your word) a Golconda -- selling individual state $100 bills at only $99. These are beautiful productions that look exactly like $100 bills, except the symbol of your state is embossed on the front. Each is made of 1 ounce of silver, and these 100s...Read more

Taxes and Retirement Savings

Business / Taking Stock /

Dear Mr. Berko: I have $362,000 in my 401(k) account. It took me 22 years to accumulate that amount. Now I'm told that Washington is considering a tax on the current value of everybody's retirement accounts to help pay for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Is this true?

My wife and I recently moved back to Fort Lauderdale and discovered you're no ...Read more


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