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Keep Wal-Mart Stock? Dear Mr. Berko: I invested $10,000 and bought 130 shares of Wal-Mart at $74 two years ago on a recommendation from a friend of mine who is an economist with the United Nations. The stock market has done really well, but my Wal-Mart investment hasn't …Read more. Don't Sell Dear Mr. Berko: I'm 47, and my $313,000 portfolio has been 85 percent invested in Standard & Poor's 500 index issues since June 2008. My new broker, like other professionals, including many financial magazine articles, thinks the stock market is …Read more. Health Care Mutual Funds Dear Mr. Berko: All the advertisers in the financial media claim to be wizards but either lie or brag only about their successes. Then when you get suckered into their spiels, those stories turn into losses. I'm given up subscribing to stock market …Read more. From Printing to the Future Dear Mr. Berko: In January 2013, I had a $2,050 cash balance in my individual retirement account from a preferred stock that was partially called away. So I bought 200 shares of RR Donnelley at $8.75 because I used to work for that company in …Read more.
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High-Dividend-Paying Stocks

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Dear Mr. Berko: I want to take a modest gamble with about $21,000 and would like to buy some high-dividend-paying stocks that you think have a chance of maintaining or increasing their dividends as well as the value of the stock price. A broker who was recommended to me said that my idea of buying high-dividend stocks was suicide. He said that the dividends are high because the company is on its last legs and could easily collapse in price or even go out of business. He suggested that I invest in penny stocks that sell for under a dollar a share. He said I could buy 25,000 shares like CCTC at 12 cents a share for $3,000, and if the stock moves up 10 cents in a week or two weeks, I would clear $2,500 and almost double my money. He showed me many stocks that he bought for clients that have increased tenfold in value. Please advise me. — D.R., Mount Clemens, Mich.

Dear D.R.: Of course you know that the reason penny stocks sell for pennies is because pennies are what they are worth. I think that broker ought to petition the court to have himself legally declared as a cockroach. This cur is dangerous to your wealth. Penny stocks are for penny brains whose total sum of knowledge and expertise is worth a cooper.

Many folks claim they've made big scores in the penny stock market, and many have. However, those penny brains never tell you of the numerous huge losses they absorbed in order to earn bragging rights for just one score. And it's been my experience that penny-stock buyers enormously inflate the profits they brag about.

Meanwhile, the following three high-yielding stocks have a better-than-even chance of maintaining their high dividends, growing their businesses and improving their stock values.

Cellcom Israel (CEL — $33.05) is one of three cell phone companies in Israel, but seems to have technical superiority over the other two.

CEL's system does everything BlackBerry, blueberry and the iPhone and iPod do, including push to talk, Internet connectivity, SMS and MMS services, animation messages and interactive protocols. CEL had $1.7 billion 2009 revenues, and with net profit margins of 17.6 percent, the company earned $3.12 per share. The $2.72 dividend yields 8.0 percent.

Winstream Communications (WIN — $10.41) is a specialty phone company that provides landline, Internet, long distance, network access and video service to 3.2 million customers in the very rural areas across 16 American states. This $3.1 billion revenue company has a 13 percent net profit margin, and its $1.00 dividend yields 9.6 percent.

Finally, Century Telephone (CTL-$34.76), with $7.1 billion in revenues, trades at just a buck above its $32 book value. CTL, which acquired Pacific Telecom (an AT&T spinoff) in 1997, is the fourth-largest phone company in the U.S. It boasts a blue chip balance sheet and sound finances. CTL has 10 years of consecutive earnings growth, and its 15 percent net profit margins allow it to pay a $2.90 dividend that yields 8.65 percent.

Put these three in your Meerschaum and enjoy an 8.5 percent or better average annual dividend return on your investment. Then sit back, smoke your pipe and wait for CEL, WIN and CTL to eventually rise in value.

Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775 or e-mail him at mjberko@yahoo.com. To find out more about Malcolm Berko and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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