David Blitzer

Chairman of the Index Committee
S&P Dow Jones Indices
Biography

David M. Blitzer is managing director and chairman of the Index Committee with overall responsibility for index security selection, as well as index analysis and management.

Prior to becoming Chairman of the Index Committee, Dr. Blitzer was Standard & Poor’s Chief Economist.  Before joining Standard & Poor's, he was Corporate Economist at The McGraw-Hill Companies, S&P's parent corporation.  Prior to that, he was a Senior Economic Analyst with National Economic Research Associates, Inc. and did consulting work for various government and private sector agencies including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the National Commission on Materials Policy and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Dr. Blitzer is the author of Outpacing the Pros: Using Indices to Beat Wall Street’s Savviest Money Managers, (McGraw-Hill, 2001) and What’s the Economy Trying to Tell You? Everyone’s Guide to Understanding and Profiting from the Economy, (McGraw-Hill, 1997).  In the year 2000, Dr. Blitzer was named to SmartMoney magazine’s distinguished list of the 30 most influential people in the world of investing, which ranked him seventh, and in the year 1998, Dr. Blitzer was named the nation’s top economist, receiving the Blue Chip Economic Forecasting Award for most accurately predicting the country’s leading economic indicators for four years in a row.  A well-known speaker at investing and indexing conferences, Dr. Blitzer is often quoted in the national business press, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and various other financial and industry publications.  He is frequently heard on local and national television and radio.

A graduate of Cornell University with a B.S. in engineering, Dr. Blitzer received his M.A. in economics from the George Washington University and his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.

Author Archives: David Blitzer

Internet Intercedes in the Market

The last month has been marked with worries that the stock market is about to (finally) have a correction and drop some 10% or more.  While it is impossible to tell if, or when, this might happen; a few numbers may explain some of the recent action. Stocks were seized with a bit of mania for growth and the internet which over-shadowed other parts of the market.  The Dow Jones Internet Index peaked at the beginning of March after climbing almost 70% from the start of 2013. Then it turned down and Read more [...]

Inside the S&P 500: Multiple Share Classes

Later this week when Google’s class C shares begin trading there will be 500 companies but 501 different ticker symbols and stocks in the S&P 500.  And beginning September 15, 2015, companies in the 500 which have multiple share classes will have all their liquid classes included.  The weight of each company will represent the total float available to shareholders, just as it does today. Multiple share classes are becoming more common in the US, especially among technology companies.  Read more [...]

A Bang not a Whimper

Whenever this bull market ends, it is likely to be with a bang, not a whimper. The bull market began on March 9th, 2009, five years ago.  The last bull market lasted exactly five years from October 2002 to October 2007; the one before that – the great tech boom – lasted 10 years. This bull market isn’t that old. Aside from the passage of time, the next concern people raise is valuation – are stock prices “too high?”  While valuations, measured by price-earnings ratios, are above long Read more [...]

Deflation, Debt and Disaster

Central Banks persist in fighting inflation. The Fed is tapering and talking about tighter money. The European Central Bank won’t cut interest rates. Only in Japan, where the Prime Minister is pushing the Bank of Japan is there a hint of a different approach. Inflation rates in most developed markets are below central bank targets of 2%.   In the US the Personal Consumption Expenditures deflator – the Fed’s preferred measure – puts inflation at 0.9% over the four quarters of 2013.  Read more [...]

War Risk

Russia and the Ukraine are dominating trading around the world since last Friday. The charts show the losses and rebound in the stock markets and currencies in the Ukraine and Russia.  The bounce back reflects both a seemingly more moderate comment from Russian President Putin on Tuesday morning as well as the markets pausing after a plunge. At times the political risks far out-weigh any economic concerns. Moreover, the reaction to Russian troops in the Crimea wasn’t limited to markets in Kiev Read more [...]

Targets and Tantrums at the Fed

Goal oriented monetary policy and hidden sources of volatility, discussed at the US Monetary Policy Forum last Friday, sparked articles in the New York Times, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. With investors seeking income in bond and money markets while nervously watching for when Fed policy will shift to higher interest rates, the discussions offer some interesting hints. In the last year or so the Fed repeated that it wants inflation at 2% and will not raise Read more [...]

Policy Post Mortems

Complete transcripts of the Fed’s policy meetings and conference calls are published with a five year lag. Last week the central bank released the transcripts from 2008, probably one of the more interesting years to “hear” word for word what the members of the FOMC were saying.  The release was almost to the day the five year anniversary of the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – better known as Obama’s stimulus -- on February 17th 2009.  These two events are generating Read more [...]

Weekend with the G20

The weekend meeting of 20 major global economies representing 85% of world GDP called for adding half a percentage point of growth each year to 2018 through renewed and aggressive stimulus.  So far this is talk, but there is a chance for action.  The G20 will convene again in November to show what they’ve done.  Policy shifts and the move to stimulus will be focused on the developed countries – emerging markets will focus on debt and currency issues. Stimulus programs will differ from one Read more [...]

Signs of Softness in Housing

The National Association of Home Builders sentiment index for February, reported yesterday dropped sharply to 46 from 56 in January and an average of 51 for 2013.  A reading above 50 means more builders view the market as favorably than as unfavorable.  Housing permits and starts for January were reported this morning and are also disappointing.  Permits were down 5.4% from December overall and down 1.3% for single family homes. Total permits are up compared to January 2013 but single family units Read more [...]

Obfuscation is Good, or How to Destroy an Economic Indicator

In her testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen commented that with interest rates near zero the Fed must rely on such less traditional tools of monetary policy as forward guidance and asset purchases. Asset purchases are being phased out as tapering slowly ends quantitative easing. That leaves the Fed with forward guidance: telling the market and the world what it will do when a chosen economic indicator hits a particular number.  In December 2012, Read more [...]