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

What Caused The Financial Crisis?
Sad but true — the financial crisis was all about bad monetary policy, a housing bubble, and poor bank risk management.
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EC Thoughts On Bank Debt
Underwriters of the loans have become less choosy, and as such have allowed loans to be made with weak covenants. As a result, more loans have been made, increasing their size versus bonds at junk-rated corporations.
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Why I Watch The Thirty
The Thirty is a proxy for the cost of capital. It’s long enough that it is a leap of faith that you will be paid back.
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Notes On The Fed Announcements
There is PCE Inflation. Estimates by the Fed Governors are rising, and in 2019 and 2020 they exceed 2%. In the long run, the view of the Fed Governors is that they can achieve 2% PCE inflation.
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Just Don’t Invert The Yield Curve
Jerome Powell is not an economist, and as such, has the potential to try to remake the way the Fed does monetary policy
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Why I Like Foreign Small Cap ETFs
The US market is high, and I am leaning against that in countries where valuations are lower, and growth prospects are on average better.
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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 Facebook Inc
HNZ H. J. Heinz Company
KBE SPDR Series Trust
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

LATEST ACTIVITY

David Merkel
America is storing more cheese than ever as trade slows and tastes change https://t.co/7IHvreR7rG via ...

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David Merkel
You feel you need a mental-health day. Are you safe asking for one? https://t.co/1fRN7wXT4i via WSJ Yo...

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David Merkel
China’s industrial production, weighed down by woes among auto makers, slowed in November to its slackest point sin… https://t.co/zEIWkFlveM
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PERSONAL BLOG

Latest Posts
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 (8 years 5 months)
I have started my own asset management firm.
Founder
Aleph Blog
2007 - Present (12 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.