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

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 [...]

The Simple Economics of Oil

Now that the shock of oil under $75 per barrel and gasoline under $3 per gallon has begun to wear off, the debate has shifted to when oil prices will rebound.  A look at the economics of supply and demand suggests that the rebound probably won’t take prices back over $100 that quickly.  Unlike earlier oil price collapses, this time both demand and supply moved and both pushed prices down.  The collapse of oil prices when the global financial crisis morphed into the Great Recession was driven Read more [...]

Fear of Falling Prices

Anxiety over deflation is wide-spread and increasing.  The New York Times lead editorial on Sunday warned that weakening commodity prices may be a harbinger deflation or a hint of economic decline.   Despite a few contrary voices, both policy makers and investors seem concerned.  Are the fears misplaced? Or would deflation be a large step backward? The chart shows 101 years of American inflation measured by the CPI. Prices move all the time – not just stock prices but prices of almost Read more [...]

Real Estate Rising and GICS

Real estate, once the villain of the financial crisis, is now lauded as the place to find yield, diversification and maybe stability.  Before REITs became eligible for the S&P 500 in October 2001, real estate investing either meant direct ownership or a specialized corner of the stock market.   The recovery from the financial crisis focused attention on real estate and REITs to understand what happened and why.  With equity markets at record highs and yields and interest rates at record lows, Read more [...]

Bonds in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

After last week’s FOMC meeting, the time when interest rates begin a sustained rise propelled by the Federal Reserve may be drawing closer.  The received wisdom is that no one should own bonds when interest rates are rising because rising rates mean falling bond prices.  While the math demands that bond prices fall, a deeper look at the math reveals that all may not be lost. Some investors believe that the yield to maturity on a bond measures the return they will earn if they hold the bond Read more [...]

Fed a Small Step Closer to Raising rates

Fed a Small Step Closer to Raising rates Today’s FOMC statement published after the meeting is more upbeat than the last one in discussing the labor markets and the inflation outlook.  The FOMC noted “solid gains and a lower unemployment rate” and that the “likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 percent has diminished somewhat” despite lower oil prices.  In announcing the end of QE, the statement noted “substantial improvements in the outlook for the labor market since” Read more [...]

A Lesson in Last Week’s Turmoil

The market action in US stocks and Treasuries last week, especially on Wednesday, may be an experience that many investors would like to forget.  On Wednesday volume in US treasuries set a record as yields collapsed, stocks nose-dived and VIX topped 30 after opening the week at about 20.  As horrifying, or exciting, as it was, there may be lessons buried in the numbers. Rarely does one specific event cause this kind of market turmoil; rather many sources of investor anxiety crowd together.  Read more [...]