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Berko says ...

Look to Great White North for good bank stocks.  Online today, at beaconnewsonline.com. …

Wide-eyed and desperate in Blue Eye

Dear Mr. Berko: I would like buy 5,000 shares of Alcatel-Lucent. Please give me your thoughts. Also, is there any clear way for you to explain the bailout process of the troubled European countries without going into all those fancy banking terms that none of …

Buying American Airlines stock akin to Waiting for Godot

Dear Mr. Berko: Some people are buying 10,000, 25,000 or more shares of American Airlines at 45 cents to 55 cents a share because they think it will recover when American comes out of bankruptcy. If not, then they figure the stock can go up …

Do the math when looking at REITS

Dear Mr. Berko: I am considering the purchase of $6,000 in Chimera stock and $6,000 worth of American Capital Agency stock, both of which pay dividends that yield 19 percent. How do these companies (there are others, too, with similar high yields) get such big …

Keep your money in U.S. markets — and away from Manny Backus

Dear Mr. Berko: I have $64,000 invested in Chinese stocks, and I’m ahead by $6,000. What do you think of the Chinese market today for the next three years? Are there any Chinese stocks you would recommend? Also, what do you think of Manny Backus, …

U.S. to Europe’s rescue, again

Dear Mr. Berko: Is it possible to explain — simply — how the U.S. is lending money to Spain, Italy and other European countries so that they can pay their debts? How important is Europe to the world economy and the U.S.? Is this causing …

Diamonds are an investor’s worst enemy

Dear Mr. Berko: I’m a 35-year-old physician, and I’m finally getting married. A jeweler in Chicago has shown me a nearly flawless, $58,000, 5-carat diamond for my fiance. It’s a wonder to look at and seems like it could be a good investment. When I …

Business development companies good for rest of us

The BDC sector has not performed well in the last few years, but their performance should be changing. Most trade at or near their book value, the payout ratios are high — typically 10 percent and up — and that includes return of capital.

Taking Stock: If you’re a believer, take a word to the wise

If you and the majority of wise investors are right, 2012 should be a wonderful year for you.

Taking Stock: MF Global debacle opportunity for Fed to prove itself

I know very little about MF Global. But I do know that Jon Corzine, a.k.a. Boom-Boom, who managed MF’s huge portfolio, used to be a Marine sergeant. Boom-Boom is also a former U.S. senator, a past governor of New Jersey and a previous CEO of the most influential, profitable, feared and powerful investment banking firm in the world: Goldman Sachs.

Taking Stock: AllianceBernstein, just another firm getting run into ground

In 2007, AB was managing $850 billion in pension and mutual fund money and was CEO’d by Lewis Sanders, a highly respected “value investor.” But today, there is no such beast as a value investor — someone who purchases good stocks at low prices and waits for them to appreciate as revenues, earnings and dividends increase.

Is that old stock worth money?

Dear Mr. Berko: My grandfather died in 2001 with eight different stocks in his footlocker, and I can’t find one of them in the paper. A broker told me he could send them to his home office, and for $150 each, they’d tell me if …

Closed-end funds a worthy contender for savvy investor

Dear Mr. Berko: I have been putting off buying municipal bonds because I thought interest rates would be higher. I did buy, for $20,000 face value, three junk municipals you recommended almost a year ago. I got 9 percent on two Illinois bonds and an …

While fed fiddles, check out First Niagara, Synovus

Dear Mr. Berko: My friend, who is a reputable lawyer, recommended First Niagara Financial, which trades at $8.40 and pays a good dividend. I think buying 1,000 shares for a two- or three-year investment would be a good speculation. What do you think? My friend …

Banking forecast: More fees in the future