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

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 [...]

Sell Just Before, Not After, the FOMC Meets

A recent academic paper (link here, full citation below) demonstrates that day-to-day stock market returns follow a regular bi-weekly cycle tied to the schedule of FOMC meetings, the Fed’s policy unit. A rolling five day return calculated as the excess return of stocks over T-bills peaks on the day the FOMC meets and then every other week quite consistently thereafter.  The pattern goes back to 1994 when the FOMC began regular announcements of its policy adjustments.  With a series of analyses, Read more [...]

Double Dose of the Fed

Next week will be a double dose of Fed speculation and debate. First, on Wednesday at 2 PM the Fed will release the minutes from the last FOMC meeting on July 29th-30th.  Then on Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday the Kansas City Fed will hold its annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole Wyoming.   The symposium usually attracts a who’s-who of international monetary policy and central banking.  While the topic for this year, “Re-Evaluating Labor Market Dynamics” has been announced, Read more [...]

Inside the S&P 500: An Active Committee

The S&P 500 is maintained by a committee of market professionals.  We publish a detailed methodology document which includes guidelines for selecting stocks and other changes to the index.   Unlike many other S&P Dow Jones Indices and the majority of indices offered by other index providers,  there are no rigid or absolute rules for the S&P 500; the Index Committee have some discretion in selecting stocks or responding to market events. People ask why we have a committee when other Read more [...]

Why So Many Worry About Inflation

Inflation fears are everywhere except in the data.  While the Fed keeps reminding us that the inflation rate is below their 2% target, analysts keep arguing that the Fed will be miss signs of inflation.  Any hint of rising prices anywhere – from the CPI to oil to the money supply – is highlighted while reports of little change are ignored.  Is there actually less threat of inflation than most perceive? Why do so many investors expect inflation to appear any moment? The numbers: The latest Read more [...]