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Archive for January 10th, 2013

“This is Only Entertainment”

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

This is not meant to be a rant, but it may end up as one.  Yes, I have a disclaimer at my blog.  We all need disclaimers.  My disclaimer focuses on the idea that even bright people may make severe mistakes, and that the best of us only hand out educated guesses.

I can respect ideas like that.  What I don’t respect is language that says that “the following is entertainment.”  Entertainment?!  Who are you kidding?!  Few read investment analyses for entertainment, particularly when you are discussing a few securities that the author thinks could be profitable.  Yes, I can see them lining up at the Theaters, waiting  to watch the latest “Incredible Investment Idea,” on the big screen.

I can respect people who say, “This is my opinion,” and then when it doesn’t work out, I don’t blame them.  Everyone has opinions that are wrong, including all of the best investors.

But to say that investment writing can be for entertainment is ridiculous.  First, it is not entertaining.  Second, it often implies actions to be taken — few return from entertainment saying they ought to do something.

Look, I have made mistakes in the past.  This current post possibly contains mistakes.  I will make mistakes in the future, unless I die after this is written.

We have to accept the idea that what most people, even professional sell-side analysts write, is mere opinion.  That said, as a best practice, as I did at RealMoney, and from day one at Aleph Blog, I disclose all of my interests when I write a piece.

My main point is this: investment writing is not entertainment.  Disclaimers should be improved to reflect that opinions that might be wrong are being offered.


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.

Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.

Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of.

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