David Blitzer

Chairman of the Index Committee
S&P Dow Jones Indices

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

Fed Policy and Congress: Janet Yellen Speaks

Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies on Tuesday and Wednesday this week to House and Senate Committees as part of the Fed’s mid-year report on monetary policy.  Last week’s release of the FOMC minutes from the June 17-18 meeting set the stage for this week’s testimony and questions.   The big question -- when will the Fed begin raising interest rates – won’t get an answer from Mrs. Yellen.  The consensus guess is mid-2015; since the release of the minutes and the May employment report many Read more [...]

No Place to Hide? Consider Cash

Today’s New York Times headlined an article, “The Everything Boom: How it Might End” (here) pointing out that prices in almost every asset class have reached stratospheric levels driven by low interest rates and easy money.  The article suggests three ways the boom might end: The good where the economy grows into currently high asset values and interest rates slowly rise; the bad where the economy stagnates and investment returns fade towards zero; or, the ugly where inflation or some crisis Read more [...]

The Mind of the Fed

The saying goes, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  That is the difficulty Fed chair Janet Yellen sees in monetary policy: if the only tool is raising or lowering interest rates, then everything – bubbles, inflation, unemployment, excessive risks, yield hunting or systemically important financial institutions – looks like nails.  In a lecture at the IMF earlier this week (here), Mrs. Yellen answered questions about future bubbles and rate increases by Read more [...]

Euphoria vs. Anxiety

A heavy weight battle over economic policy and financial markets is brewing between the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in one corner and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the other. Meanwhile the world’s major central banks may be lining up on one side or the other with the Bank of England (BOE) moving towards the BIS and the European Central Bank (ECB) drifting closer to the IMF. The Bank of Japan (BOJ), having embraced Abenomics, is ahead of the IMF.  The Federal Reserve appears Read more [...]

Inflation Fears and the Fed

Last week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) release spooked a few people with a month to month change of 0.4%, the largest since February 2013; food prices were up 0.7% and the CPI ex-food & energy up 0.3% with both rising the most since August, 2011.  To top it all, the twelve month change in the CPI was 2.1%, above the Fed’s 2% target. The immediate responses were (1) the Fed is going to raise interest rates a lot sooner than anyone expects and (2) the Fed will still wait for at least a year Read more [...]

Risk On, Risk On

Central banks do more than set interest rates in an attempt to guide the economy. They also push and prod market psychology to move the economy in the direction they think best. Easy money and low interest rates send messages to take risks, spend money, boost a slow economy and be confident that the central bank might help out. Tight money and rising interest rates send the reverse messages: be wary, pull back, don’t over heat the economy, don’t push prices up. This game of market psychology Read more [...]

Eliminate Money!?

The announcement by the European Central Bank that it would charge negative interest rates to banks for their deposits at the central bank – effectively a fee for having the central bank hold the money – raises arguments for eliminating paper currency and going digital.  The pros and cons were summarized in the Financial Times and in some blogs. Digital money need not mean bitcoins – these suggestions are electronic currency maintained by the central bank.  One would trade the greenbacks Read more [...]

Lose Money In The Bank: The ECB Announces Negative Interest Rates

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced negative interest rates. The rates apply only to certain funds that banks keep on deposit at the central bank. Negative interest rates do not apply to individuals’ bank accounts. If a bank has one million euros on deposit with the central bank, a year later it will have a thousand euros less – it will have paid interest to leave the money in the central bank.  And that is exactly why the ECB is charging for holding the money – it wants banks to loan Read more [...]

Something’s Missing in the Housing Recovery

The two most popular comments about the housing recovery are that it’s weak and the reason why GDP growth is so slow.  There is some truth to both of these -- the problem is new single family homes. Looking across housing, one sees surprisingly strong construction of apartments, progress in working through the backlog of foreclosures as banks sell real estate they don’t want to own and increasing sales of existing homes.  Prices of existing single family homes, helped by low mortgage rates Read more [...]

The Challenging Outlook for Interest Rates

Analysts and forecasters in the US expect that the Fed will hold the fed funds rate at its current zero to 25 bp target until around the middle of 2015.  Meanwhile, expectations about Europe are shifting.   Recent comments from the UK by the former deputy governor of the Bank of England and others suggest that British interest rates could begin a slow climb sooner than in the US, maybe as soon the start of 2015.  The UK housing market is very strong with prices climbing rapidly.  Moreover, the Read more [...]