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

Inside The Dow

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the best-known stock market measure. It has the longest continuous and consistent history of any market average or index and is still going strong today. There is more to the Dow than its long history and the historic record – it is a widely followed guide to the market and a key measure of large blue chip companies in the United States. It is on web sites and television news and is carried every day in the Wall Street Journal and many other newspapers. The Dow Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: How Sector Weights Adjust for Oil

From May 30th 2014 to last Friday, January 9th, the energy sector in the S&P 500 was down 18.1% while the overall index was up 6.3%. As energy under-performs the overall index, its weight within the index is dropping, reducing the impact of further energy weakness on the index.  The energy sector weight is down by more than a fifth, from 10.8% at the end of May to 8.2% last week. The nature of a market cap weighted index is to adjust to mitigate the damage, or take advantage of, a trend Read more […]

Don’t Worry About the Fed

Money is often described has having four functions: store of value, unit of account, medium of exchange and a source of anxiety.  Investors reading about the FOMC minutes published earlier this week are focused exclusively on the last function worrying about what will happen when the Fed raises interest rates.  A glance at the last two times the Fed shifted from easing to raising rates suggests that these fears are misplaced.  As Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren explained in a speech this week, Read more […]

Deflation

Times have changed: people of a certain age will remember when inflation was investors’ biggest worry, now in Europe the fear is deflation – falling prices.  The chart shows the rate of price change in the Eurozone since 2000. It has been falling steadily for over three years. With the December report out yesterday, prices are now falling. Deflation now is a slow creeping problem rather than an imminent disaster.  However, as it continues it will squeeze the economy and shift consumer Read more […]

The Petroleum Puzzle

With oil prices down 50% from last June and holding steady consumers are looking forward to cheaper gasoline and lower heating bills and investors are rethinking where to put their money; it is a good time to take stock of what might happen next. As discussed on this blog in late November, both lower demand and larger supply deserve credit (or blame) for the price drop. Weaker economies in Europe and Japan and lower economic growth in China are all reducing global oil demand.  Supply is being Read more […]

Russian Ruble Rebounds (somewhat)

To paraphrase Mark Twain upon reading his own obituary, “Reports of the ruble’s demise have been exaggerated.”   A week ago as the ruble skidded 17% down and briefly traded at almost 80 to the US dollar, commentators were ready to add the ruble to a long list of currencies that cratered in crises. As seen in the chart, the ruble has staged a recovery and now trading at about 55 to the dollar, where it was at the beginning of December.  Oil, the supposed cause of the ruble’s weakness hasn’t Read more […]

The Ruble’s Currency Crisis

After sliding slowly down for most of the year, The Russian ruble dropped 20% in the last ten days. The slide began with the weakening Russian economy, sanctions imposed by the US and the EU last summer and falling oil prices.  All these factors were present for many weeks and none explain the sharp move seen at the right hand end of the chart where the ruble/dollar rate jumps. There were two immediate causes. The first, and less important, was a bill passed by Congress authorizing additional Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: The Dividend Aristocrats

Dividends are ever-popular with investors, but owning dividend stocks or an ETF which tracks an index focused on dividends comes with one big worry: will the companies continue to pay dividends?  One of the surest signs that a stock is about to collapse is when the company announces it is reducing or eliminating the dividend.  While there is no way to guarantee that a stock will continue paying dividends, many investors look to the company’s past history for some hint of what it might do in the Read more […]

A Keynesian Puzzle for Fed Watchers

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg surveys both report that Fed watchers and economists continue to expect the Fed to raise interest rates beginning in mid-2015.  There is enough widespread agreement that the Fed will move on interest rates next year that some forecasters now predict that the Fed’s next policy statement will drop the phrase “for a considerable period of time” when describing how long rates will remain at current levels. At the same time, a few Fed officials and regional Read more […]

The Dollar and Returns

The US dollar has strengthened against most other currencies in recent months.  Over the last year the dollar is up 5% against the British pound, 7% versus the Canadian dollar, 8% over the Australian dollar, 9% ahead of the euro and 16% against the yen.  Movements this big shouldn’t be ignored – foreign investors with funds tracking the S&P 500 are doing much better than their domestic American counter parts while Americans in funds tracking some foreign indices are losing ground because Read more […]