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

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 [...]

What Ails the Market?

Everyone wants an explanation. Cataloged below are popular explanations with each rated as plausible, contributing, possible, or unlikely. Falling oil prices – bad news for energy stocks but good news for the rest of the economy, especially for consumers.  A few years back everyone was wishing for cheaper gasoline and now that it is almost here we blame it for falling stock market. Contributing Slow growth in Europe and recession risks in Germany – Europe’s economy is barely growing Read more [...]

Bemoaning Cheap Oil

Investors – both stock investors and commodities traders – are having a bad week as oil prices fall lower and lower and the stock market follows close behind.  (see chart 1) In all markets there are buyers and sellers and in the energy market most people (and most equity investors) are buyers.  Cheap energy, especially cheap natural gas, is a boon to the US economy.  Why is oil plunging? Where are the benefits? Short term factors are behind the current oil price slide: signs of a deeper Read more [...]

Despite sub-6% Unemployment, Economic Growth is Mixed and Investors are Challenged

This morning’s report on September Employment beat expectations and took the unemployment rate to 5.9%, the lowest in six years.  Payrolls gained 248,000 jobs and the labor force rose by 317,000 people.  The stock market responded with a better than 10 point jump in the S&P 500 at the open as the Dow added about 175 points in the first 45 minutes of trading. As nice as the news is, the longer run prospects for the economy are mixed. Sustaining the 4%-plus GDP growth seen in the second Read more [...]

Alibaba, Hedge Funds and Transparency

Alibaba appears to have seized the 2014 prize for the biggest IPO price jump – from $68 to $93 on the first trade – as well as driving more speculation about its possible membership in the S&P 500 than anything since Facebook.  Unlike Facebook, Alibaba is a Chinese company and is not eligible for membership in the S&P 500.  (It is likely to find its way into various S&P and Dow Jones Chinese stock indices at some point.)  In response to the questions about the S&P 500, S&P Read more [...]

What Ails Housing Starts

August housing starts, reported today, were disappointing at 956,000 units, a drop of 14.4% from July and 8% from August last year. Only twice this year have monthly reports of housing starts topped a million units at annual rates – from 1991 to the financial crisis in 2008, starts were never below one million.  To a large extent building houses hasn’t recovered from the financial crisis. If one uses the average number of houses started from 1995 through 2004 as a pre-boom-bust normal measure, Read more [...]