Founder, Aleph Blog
Contributor's Links: The Aleph Blog Aleph Investments, LLC

David J. Merkel, CFA — 2010-present, I run my own equity asset management shop, called Aleph Investments.  I manage separately managed stock and bond accounts for upper middle class individuals and small institutions.  My minimum is $100,000.

From 2008-2010, I was ... more

ALL CONTRIBUTIONS

An Estimate Of The Future
In some ways, the Federal Reserve is the whipping boy of Congress. Congress can’t decide on anything significant, so the Fed fills in the blanks, and keeps things moving, even if it creates humongous asset bubbles in the process.
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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Over the years, I have suggested that two firms should break up on a number of occasions: AIG & GE. Both are now in the process of completing their breakups.
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China: Unforced Errors
Ready for a cold winter? Much of the world is not. Many places have discouraged using hydrocarbons to produce power, ostensibly for environmental goals, whether those are valid or not.
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The Possibility Of The Tail Wagging The Dog
For the last nine years, I have thought that the move away from LIBOR could be a case of “The cure is worse than the disease.” I think we may come to regret the transition from LIBOR to SOFR.
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Estimating Future Stock Returns, June 2021 Update
This market is on borrowed time. The only comparable period for this market is from the fourth quarter of 1999 to the third quarter of 2000 — the dot-com bubble, which was another period of speculation fueled by loose monetary policy.
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The Best Simple Measure For Evaluating Credit Risk Of Publicly Traded Firms For A Stock Investor
I was looking at conditions in the shipping industry today, and I thought back on a stock that I used to own — Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited. I think I sold it in 2007 or so.
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STOCKS I FOLLOW

AIG American International Group Inc
AIZ Assurant Inc.
AMZN Amazon.com Inc.
BBK BlackRock Municipal Bond Trust
BLV Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF
BND Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
BRO Brown & Brown Insurance
BX The Blackstone Group L.P.
C Citigroup Inc.
DB Deutsche Bank AG
FB Meta Platforms, Inc. (Formerly Facebook)
HNZ H. J. Heinz Company
KBE SPDR S&P Bank ETF
NYT New York Times Co.
PEP PepsiCo Inc.
PRE PartnerRe Ltd.
SHLD Sears Holdings Corporation
TNP Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited
TWGP Tower Group Inc.
TWTR Twitter Inc
VR Validus Holdings, Ltd.
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TWEETS

PERSONAL BLOG

Latest Posts
Praise For The Moneyist
I sometimes read Quentin Fottrell as he answers tough reader questions at The Moneyist, a column at Marketwatch.com. In general, I agree with what he advises 90% of the time, and think he does it in an entertaining way.
What Can Happen When You Take A Large Break From Blogging
When I returned from my break from blogging, I realized my traffic was down by 2/3s over what it was.
The Balance: On Private Activity Bonds
Let me simply say here that I am not crazy about Private Activity Bonds [PABs], and municipal bonds generally. If you have a long enough time horizon to buy and hold a muni bond 20-30 years, then you may as well own stocks.

Work Experience

Principal
Aleph Investments, LLC
September 2010 - Present (11 years 5 months)
I have started my own asset management firm.
Founder
Aleph Blog
2007 - Present (15 years 2 months)
I try to write something interesting on an economic, business, or financial topic every day. Some pieces are more advanced, some are geared to beginners. I write my best stuff when I am really passionate about my topic.
Contributor
Seeking Alpha
2007 - 2011 (5 years)
Chief Economist and Director of Research
Finacorp Securities
February 2008 - June 2010 (2 years 5 months)
Daily market research and updates Protected the company against unscrupulous purveyors of investments. Tried unsuccessfully to start an asset management business. Had to start it on my own to get the proper motivation.
Senior Analyst
Hovde Financial
April 2003 - July 2007 (4 years 4 months)
Senior Analyst covering insurance equities. Also managed profit sharing and endowment funds.

Education

University of California, Davis
None
1982 / 1986
Applied Economics. Dissertation Committee fell apart, and could not resurrect it. Passed my Ph.D. orals, but no Ph.D.
The Johns Hopkins University
BA, MA
1979 / 1982
Political Economy

Publications

The Aleph Blog
David Merkel
David Merkel
My objectives in this blog are relatively simple: To interact more broadly with the blogosphere, adding my own distinct ideas to the mix. To fight for what is right in money management, and encourage readers to pursue strategies that reduce risk and enhance returns. To develop an investment management shop. Initially, this would be personal & institutional money management on a “long only” and hedged basis. Eventually, I would create a mutual fund so that smaller retail investors can invest with me. I would try to buy up a failed mutual fund shell, allowing a way in that is cheaper, and providing tax-sheltered gains to early investors. But all of this is a dream that might not be realized. Until then, I can tell you about managers who manage money in a way similar to mine. All of these goals rely on the help of Jesus Christ and my readers. I thank you for taking the time to read what I write.