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,