The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » Linus : Security Blanket :: David : Bloomberg Terminal

Linus : Security Blanket :: David : Bloomberg Terminal

Dear Readers,

New asset management shops start small.  One of the luxuries I have had for the past 18 years is access to a Bloomberg Terminal.  I will not be able to afford one ($20-25K/year), at least not initially, as I start up what is likely to be called Aleph Investments.

I will miss having a Bloomberg Terminal.  At every firm that I have worked at, I have been good at getting it to do tough projects, whether with stocks, bonds (government, corporate, mortgage, bank debt, default swaps), economics, or other investments (munis, money markets, preferred, commodities, currencies, etc.), or getting data on competitors.  I have a deep knowledge of what it can do, compared to most users.

But who needs all of that scope for an average equity management business?  Granted, it’s nice to have the details on all aspects of the capital structure when making decisions, but who has that luxury when your resources are thin?  There is always leafing through the 10-K, a good exercise for all of us who invest.

In my younger days, say 10-15 years ago, I would get most of my investment data via paper.  I would get my kids together and we would stuff envelopes to send out to corporations. Over the next three weeks, the flood of data would be huge, but I would sit down with the kids (they were so cute then) as they reports came in, and show them what the company did and where it was located.  One of them would look at one of the smaller reports and say “10-Q,” to which I would reply “You’re welcome,” which would elicit some giggles.

Ah, the simpler days.  Where was I?

Yeah, I can’t afford a Bloomberg Terminal, but I need a service or a set of services that provides the following (US Traded stocks):

  • Current and Historical fundamental data.
  • Real time equity prices.
  • Price histories.
  • Industry fundamental data (I wish, but don’t have to have it)
  • Reasonable summaries of common ratios and growth rates. (If need be, I can calculate them.)
  • Some economic data (but I can probably cobble that together myself)
  • Some technical work (money flow, RSI, intraday RSI, but that’s just a nicety, and I could do it myself…)
  • International economic data (dreaming, I know, and I can do without it)
  • Commodities, Futures (but I could do without it)
  • Option implied volatilities (but I could do without it)

I’m an investor, not a trader.  I trade a 30-40 stock portfolio about 100 times/year, and most of the trades are rebalancing trades, where I buy or sell to bring a company up to its target weight when it hits a portfolio weight 20% above or below my target weight.  I hold companies on average 3 years.

Now, I could probably get by with:

  • AAII Professional Stock Screener
  • Value Line (paper, limited online, and only the large- and mid-caps)
  • Yahoo! Real-Time Quotes
  • WSJ & Barron’s market data
  • FRED at the Federal Reserve
  • SEC Edgar
  • Maybe subscribe to the Financial Times online.
  • And free stuff around the web.  Yahoo! Finance is excellent in a pinch for individual company analysis.

But, could I do better?  Many of my readers use sources that I am not aware of.  If you would, would you describe the data sources that you use for data analysis.  It would not only be of value to me, but would be of value to all of our readers.

When I am up and running with Aleph Investments, I will post to let you know what I finally settled on, but for now, let me know what you would use if you were in my shoes.  If you are posting a reply to somewhere other than the comments at my site, please send a copy here.

Thanks to all,


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17 Responses to Linus : Security Blanket :: David : Bloomberg Terminal

  1. Kyle says:

    I use the “Basic” subscription at ($250/year). It has very robust search and alert functions (great for special situations). Compare wizard (part of the sub) is a big time saver as well.

    For screens i highly recommend ($15/month) . It allows you to create custom formulas to screen both technical & fundamental data.

  2. Ryan says:

    You might take a look at Reuters-Bridge. I am at around $1000/mo for most of what you list, though I am an individual investor and not institutional (which affects pricing). I receive delayed quotes on many commodities, but its not a big deal unless you are trading overnight given the spate of ETFs. I know they have plenty of bond info, though I do not receive all of it. And when you really need BBG info, you can always contact someone who has one!

  3. papicek says:

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    Best of luck going it on your own. I’ve been there 5 times (4 of which are still around) in manufacturing and advertising. I’m too old for that kind of effort now, but my best wishes.

  4. For macroeconomic data, along the lines of FRED:

    * Calculated Risk has regularly updated graphs and summaries in many areas, mostly related to GDP or housing
    * I have ( reference pages on a number of (mostly) economic topics, with regularly updated graphs and summaries; currently very active examples are mortgage modification and home forfeitures; coming are state and local government finances and a few commodities
    * The BLS provide rudimentary graphs, as well as data
    * Economagic is a little like FRED
    * Eurostat provides summaries and graphs in a number of areas for both the EU and the euro zone
    * The Atlanta Fed’s weekly Financial Highlights is useful for credit conditions

  5. kizzle says:

    there’s a surprising amount of info available at the free version of Morningstar.

    Also I like ycharts for quick charts of fundamental ratios:

  6. RiskReward says:

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    It’s been a couple years since I used it, but I would highly recommend XLQ ( It tied in to fundamental data from AAII’s Stock Investor Pro, real time data from different providers, and all in Excel so you could create pivot tables and slice the data how you wanted to create industry aggregates. In addition if you’re interested, I use R ( a lot to pull together data from various free websites to do further analysis. One last one to look at (I don’t remember the costs off hand) is GFD ( for tons of good macro and aggregate data. I’ve been down the road you’re going before, so good luck and I hope it helps.

  7. [...] Losing the Bloomberg security [...]

  8. Explorer says:

    I use Incredible Charts free version for Australian companies, Currencies, Gold & Silver, about 20 international markets, and screening stocks by criteria. It picks up the free data from Yahoo finance.

    I believe it can do the same with US stocks.

    The paid version is AUD23 a month.

    It has all the screens and indicators you can poke a stick at, most of them available in the free version.

    Definitely worth a look!

  9. Explorer says:

    URL for Incredible Charts is:

    Also read Seeking Alpha – just check the titles each day at:

    The homepage is:

  10. papicek says:

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    You could likely get most of what you want for free. Pity that you’re a bond trader and not a PHP coder. A lot of data (say from Edgar) could be mined automatically. Closing prices could be mined over night the same way. You’ve got me wondering where I’d need to go to mine (near) real time quotes.

    I see a business opportunity here.

  11. ara says:

    Hi David,
    I’m the CTO of YCharts (which someone mentioned earlier in the comments).

    To go through your list:
    ->Current and Historical fundamental data.
    Have it now but within the next month we’re doing a data provider update that will make this more comprehensive and accurate.
    ->Real time equity prices.
    Have it through BATS but Y!F is probably better for this.
    ->Price histories.
    Dont have daily historical prices yet but this is coming within the next month.
    ->Industry fundamental data (I wish, but don’t have to have it)
    Have it, but within the next 2 months this is going to get an update which will make things like industry profit margins more reliable (right now we do averages). We’re already pretty good for things like industry MC, Revs, Incomes, etc
    ->Reasonable summaries of common ratios and growth rates. (If need be, I can calculate them.)
    Have it.
    ->Some economic data (but I can probably cobble that together myself)
    Within the next 3 weeks we will be adding comprehensive coverage of economic and market indicators from the Fed, S&P, CBOE, ADP and possibly a few other sources.
    ->Some technical work (money flow, RSI, intraday RSI, but that’s just a nicety, and I could do it myself…)
    No firm plans for this. Might do RSI within next 3 months.
    ->International economic data (dreaming, I know, and I can do without it)
    We can do this if you can point us towards whose data you want (World Bank? IMF? EC?).
    ->Commodities, Futures (but I could do without it)
    No plans for this.
    ->Option implied volatilities (but I could do without it)
    No plans for this.

    Ara Anjargolian

  12. This is how I work:
    1.) Identify Macro opportunity
    2.) Use fundamental analysis to find desirable vehicles to play on the macro opportunity
    3.) Use technical analysis to find desirable entry and exit points and identify price trends in the aforementioned vehicles

    For macro, a lot of it comes from ideas I get reading the economist or FT. Calculated Risk is a heavy weight in the sector and the general blogosphere does a good job at content curation. After that, you usually have to get your hands dirty and get census / bls / fed / etc data and hack your own models. Losing the centralized data sources and especially the scrubbed data that bloomberg has will be painful, but you’d be surprised how easy it gets after you have your go-to series all cleaned up and saved. All it takes is some updating whenever you need them. It’ll never be as nice as a live-export to excel from bloomberg that automatically updates, but oh well.

    Certain platforms have a lot of nice details, I’ve heard nice things about ThinkOrSwim. I’ve used TradeStation and know people that SWEAR by it for charting, technicals, back testing, historical price-data and all sorts of custom charts. it’s highly customizable and the embedded programming language makes it easy to create new functionality.

    I do my fundamental analysis in a highly primitive form. 10Ks 10Qs, legal pad, highlighter and then I type it all up or put it into a spread sheet. I like working on paper and scribbling notes on it.

    iVolatility has a free version that can be nice in a pinch when you need some extra info before making option trades.

    Apart from that has a bunch of nice functionality, Yahoo! Finance is improving by leaps and bounds. Opening a $100 account at fidelity and letting the money sit in a mmkt / mf allows you to get free access to a lot of their research functionality (and you still get to keep that $100!).

    Interactive Brokers has amazing margin rates, great data sources and a good bond inventory

    TRACE and MSRB have tons of good info too. I hear the Economist has a data service, but it’s outside my price range since I would use it more as a toy than for work.

    You could also call up Barry and ask how much they charge for Fusion IQ data…

  13. Anal_yst says:

    Do NOT pay for Reuters Plus, no matter what you do or what it costs (I have no idea, besides that Yahoo! Finance is better, and free). Thompson One is slightly less terrible but I can’t see it being worth it unless its free, which I’m sure its not.

  14. Amer says:

    I find to be a pretty thorough site as far as providing company data. Really quite amazing considering that it’s totally free (requires registration). Definitely worth a look.

  15. Craig says:

    I only use the free site, but I love it for news and ratios among other things.

  16. Thanks to all who responded. I have alot to work with, and thanks.

  17. Greg says:

    David — surprised that no one mentioned CRB for commodities / futures data. Their “majors” data service is pretty cheap: $350/yr for futures only. It includes all the US based futures (and some non US) you might want; plus forex rates, some interest rates, VIX, etc. Data is scrubbed

    I think the link is


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

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