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Malcolm Berko

business columnist

Recent Stories

Berko: Bank of America too big for its own, and your, good

By Malcolm Berko January 25, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: What are your thoughts on buying stock in some of the big "money center banks"? I wanted to buy 1,000 shares of Bank of America when it was selling for $5 a share back in 2011. Unfortunately, I got scared and didn't have enough confidence in my decision to pull the trigger, though I opened an account there. I didn't know that Papa Murphy's is a public company until I read your recent column about the company, and then I bought 200 shares. That place does have great pizza. Do you still like the stock? It hasn't done much since I bought it.

Berko: Put brakes on plans to invest in auto stocks

By Malcolm Berko January 24, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 300 shares of General Motors at $26 over two years ago, even though you said it was a dumb investment. Auto sales have been taking off, and now I'm asking whether you think it would be a good investment to buy 600 shares of Ford or more General Motors.

Berko: Keynesian policies doomed to fail in large society

By Malcolm Berko January 18, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: Could you explain the economics of John Maynard Keynes in simple English and how the Federal Reserve is using his ideas to strengthen the economy? I can't determine whether his policies work or whether his policies are inflationary or deflationary or whether inflation is better than deflation. I would appreciate a reply as soon as possible.

Berko: Consider emerging markets

By Malcolm Berko January 17, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: I am 69 and expect to retire this summer with a good pension and a sizable rollover from my company 401(k) to an individual retirement account. My IRA is invested in a combination of blue chip stocks and "pale blues," as you call them. I recently exercised some stock options, and after paying off the remainder of our debts and the tax consequence, I have $66,000 to invest. Because I'm concerned that the market is too high, I want your advice on investing this money.

Berko: Never buy stock that has no sales and earnings

By Malcolm Berko January 11, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: In January 2014, my adviser had me buy 50 shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals at $476, and it fell to $305 in February. In March, it began to zoom up, and my adviser had me buy 50 more shares at $422 because he thought it would go to $600. It's now down to $158, and my adviser wants me to buy 100 shares. He insists that Intercept will get approval on a blockbuster drug this year, which could move the stock higher than $600. Is my adviser giving me the right advice? Please advise by email, because I need your answer right away.

Berko: These health care stocks a good long-term choice

By Malcolm Berko January 4, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: Our first grandchild was born several weeks ago, and we're thrilled. We want to invest $30,000 for his future in some stocks that he can keep forever and not have to watch. I remember that about 25 years ago (we've been reading your column for 30 years), you recommended a portfolio of 10 medical stocks, which you said did not have to be watched, and said they would do better than the Dow Jones industrial average if all the dividends were reinvested. I think two of the stocks were Amgen and Biomet. Could you please put together a list for us?

Berko: Looks like GE is done spinning off

By Malcolm Berko January 3, 2015 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: You once recommended General Electric at $25. I didn't buy the stock, because the company was so big that it reminded me of the Pentagon. Would you still recommend a 200-share purchase? Also, what is your opinion of Synchrony Financial, which GE spun off in July?

Berko: Dow gains in third year of presidential term

By Malcolm Berko December 28, 2014 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: Please explain what happens to the market during the third year of a president's term in office. The market is supposed to be up the third year, and I would like to invest about $20,000 very conservatively if you think the Dow Jones industrial average will go higher during the coming year. My broker told me to ask you what to buy.

Berko: Retiree looking for income

By Malcolm Berko December 27, 2014 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: I'm a 79-year-old healthy widower. I'm a retired high-school teacher with wonderful memories, and I still keep in touch with some of my ex-students. I recently sold my house to the family who had been renting from me since 2004, and after all the pages of make-work and paperwork, I came away with a check for $109,000. This family was paying me $1,200 a month. I've been living comfortably in a modest coach house that used to be the garage. For years, my son and his wife have been urging me to join them in their Tallahassee, Fla., home. Their home has a nice "father's area" — with a kitchen, bath, TV room and private entrance — and it sure beats the winters in Detroit.

Berko: If Avon comes calling about stock, don't answer

By Malcolm Berko December 21, 2014 6 a.m.

Dear Mr. Berko: I've been using Avon's soaps, skin care lotions and fragrances almost forever, and my neighbors and I believe that the company's products are just as good or better than those of Revlon, L'Oreal and others. So I bought 200 shares in late 2004 at $46, but it's never been that high since. I want to buy 200 more shares at the current price ($9.04), which would bring my cost basis down to about $28, but my broker thinks this is a bad idea. She likes Avon's products as much as I do, but for several years, she has been recommending that I sell my shares and take a tax loss. I don't agree with her. I feel Avon is undervalued, and so does my husband. And my Avon representative recently purchased 450 shares. Please give me your guidance.

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