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David Merkel

Arconic Arguments

There’s a lot of bits and bytes spilled in the war between Elliott Associates (and those that favor their position) and the current board of Arconic.  I want to point out a few things, having held Alcoa since prior to the breakup, and added to my positions in both new Alcoa and Arconic post-breakup.Profitability will likely improve more if Elliott’s ...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 29

Photo Credit: Hanan Cohen || Anyone need a copy?===============================In my view, these were my best posts written between February and April 2014:On the Structure of Berkshire HathawayOn the Structure of Berkshire Hathaway, Part 2, the Harney Investment TrustThis set of posts is unique in going through how the insurance entities of Berkshire Hathaway allow Buffett to hold as much as he does of his stocks/...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 28

Photo Credit: sevoo===============================In my view, these were my best posts written between November 2013 and January 2014:Advice For Would-be BloggersBe regular (I need that advice myself), write on what you care about, start small.  Not that much different than this recent interview of me regarding blogging.What Life Insurance to Buy?Depends on whether you need it for protection or as part of a tax shelter or estate plan.Protect Your Older ...

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Four Simple Investment Strategies That Work

Photo Credit: Lenore Edman============================================================This will be a short post, though I want to toss this question out to readers: what investment strategies do you know of that are simple, and work on average over the long-term?Here are four (together with posts of mine on the topic):1) IndexingIndex Investing is not Inherently SocialisticWhy Indexes are Capitalization-WeightedWhy do Value Investors Like to Index?On Bond Investing, ETFs, Indexes, and the Current Market Environment2...

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Round Up

Photo Credit: MICHAEL BROWN====================================This is a small thing, and so this will be a small post.Learn to set your expectations right.When you buying something and see a price like $19, $19.95, or $19.99, think $20.When you are buying a car, and see prices like $19,000, $19,900, $19,990, or $19,999, think $20,000.  The same thing applies to homes, and be sure you have a strong estimate of all of the extra taxes and fees ...

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The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 26

Photo Credit: richard winchell  || No, don’t study the Kabbalah…To my readers, for a little while, I am going to be doing some “best of” posts along with some smaller articles.  You should see eleven “best of” articles before this is done.  If this bugs you, just turn me off for a little while.  These articles are important, because there are some re-publishers ...

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The Permanent Portfolio

==========================================I will admit, when I first read about the Permanent Portfolio in the late-80s, I was somewhat skeptical, but not totally dismissive.  Here is the classic Permanent Portfolio, equal proportions of:S&P 500 stocksThe longest Treasury BondsSpot GoldMoney market fundsThink about Inflation, how do these assets do?S&P 500 stocks – mediocre to pretty goodThe longest Treasury Bonds – cratersSpot Gold – soarsMoney market funds – keeps value, earns incomeThink about Deflation, how do these assets do?S&...

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Redacted Version of the March 2017 FOMC Statement

Photo Credit: Norman Maddeaux====================================February 2017March 2017CommentsInformation received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace.Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in February indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace.No ...

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Estimating Future Stock Returns, December 2016 Update

What a difference a quarter makes!  As I said one quarter ago:Are you ready to earn 6%/year until 9/30/2026?  The data from the Federal Reserve comes out with some delay.  If I had it instantly at the close of the third quarter, I would have said 6.37% — but with the run-up in prices since then, the returns decline to 6.01%/year.So now I say:Are you ready to earn 5%/year until 12/31/2026?  The data from the ...

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On the Pursuit of Economic Growth

Picture Credit: Asian Development Bank========================I wrote this to summarize my thoughts from a chat session that I was able to participate in at Thompson Reuters Global Markets Forum yesterday.  It was wider ranging than this, but was a very enjoyable time.  Thanks to Manoj Rawal for inviting me.On the Pursuit of Economic GrowthI think one of the conceits of the modern era is ...

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