Dear Mr. Berko: Are there stockbrokers who specialize in cheap stocks? My wife and I would like to find a qualified and recognized cheap stock expert who could recommend 10 stocks selling for $10 or less. I would invest $10,000 in each. We've decided to risk up to $100,000, have some fun and shoot for the moon by buying cheap stocks. Some of my friends tell me that they have made thousands of dollars every year with a portfolio of stocks selling for less than $10 a share. They hold the stocks for a year, and then they keep the winners and get rid of the losers. Could you recommend some cheap stocks for us, or could you recommend a broker who specializes in this kind of investment? -- HA, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dear HA: They lie.
Cheap stock experts are usually recognized by the designation CSE, just as you might call a doctor an M.D. The designation CSE isn't recognized by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority like the popular CFA, CFP, CMT, CFS, CTEP and CIMA. However, by April 1, FINRA may approve the following designations: FISH, WTF, LOL, STUP and CSE.
Morgan Stanley, probably the most anal-retentive New York Stock Exchange brokerage, has a marvelous CSE whom I've known for 27 years but won't allow him to mix with the public. When I first met him, he was an impecunious bassoonist playing the subway in New York City, and I gave him a C-note. The second time I met him was in Morocco; the year was 1995. I was on my way back from the Kashmirian Himalayas, and I gave him another C-note. We eventually became good friends. I'll call him Sasha, and he's a veritable font of cheap stock recommendations. He's made some outstanding cheap stock calls in the past 20 years, but I've never made a pence, penny or peso on his recommendations. So, I wish you luck on Sasha's following stocks.
Limelight Networks (LLNW-$4.00) provides and delivers digital content over the internet in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. No profit in sight (NPIS).
Sonus Networks (SONS-$7.50) provides security and interworking network requirements for small, medium and large businesses, as well as regional and global communications services. Possible profit next year (PPNY).
Rite Aid (RAD-$2.32) owns 4,500 drugstores, but those in management are so dumb that they couldn't pour water out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel. PPNY.
Sandstorm Gold (SAND-$5.53) acquires gold and precious metal purchase agreements and offers upfront payments to companies to acquire a gold stream or royalty income. PPNY.
Century Casinos (CNTY-$9.29) owns and operates gambling establishments, lodging establishments, restaurants, racetracks and pari-mutuel off-track betting services. PPNY.
Westell Technologies (WSTL-$3.49) designs and distributes telecommunications products to phone companies. NPIS.