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April 06, 2006

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I heard nothing but horror stories about E-Trade. I feel for you. I tried Scottrade because of the low cost. But, you get what you pay for, so I closed my account.

I've had a Vanguard Brokerage account for years and I'm glad I never closed it. Of course, the trading costs are a little higher, but I haven't had any major troubles and the customer service has always been superior. I also get a great return of my Prime Money market account. This is the only brokerage that I use and would recommend it to anyone.

I get the same runaround from Sharebuilder. They claim it has to do with provisions in the tax law dealing with foreign dividends. Their explanation is that when ETFs/Mutual Funds distribute dividends, they have to calculate foreign taxes paid on those dividends to pass along to you. For some reason those numbers are recalculated sometime in February (for Foreign Tax Credit purposes for the entity's tax return, maybe?) resulting in a change to foreign dividends, foreign tax paid, and "qualfied" dividends for the lower 15% tax rate.

At least that's their explanation mixed with some of my tax training.

Anybody know anything about TDWaterhouse?

I have preferred the service FIRSTRADE & Fidelity over Ewait..trade for a couple of months now and I find them both to be fast, friendly, easy, and affordable.

I use Ameritrade and so far haven't had any problems. Trades are $10.99 which is not the cheapest, but the site is nice and convenient. One thing I like is the access to S&P Stock reports. It's nice to have decent quality third party research to work with. However Ameritrade's stock screener is quite weak compared to those on Zacks.com, and I like to use the free Validea screener at nasdaq.com.

Recently Ameritrade has started a new bare bones service called Ameritrade iZone which I've blogged about.

http://gewinnvortrag.blogspot.com/2006/04/ameritrades-new-izone-all-trades-only.html

The $5 flat rate trades are very compelling for people who meet the minimum balance requirement of $5000.

MP

What is the current yield on an ATT bond? What is the current yield on a VZ Bond?

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