Category Archives: Blitzer’s Insights

A Look at Index History Part 2

This is more an eyewitness account than an analytical review of the growth of indexing since I joined S&P in 1982. The growth in indexing in the 20 years from S&P 500 futures in 1982 to the bottom of the tech bear market in 2002 was just a warm up. Two trends encouraging index growth Read more […]

A Look at Index History Part 1

This is more an eyewitness account than an analytical review of the growth of indexing since I joined S&P in 1982. At the beginning of 1982, few people saw indices as a business. There were only two well-known US indices – the S&P 500® and the Dow™ – and one index fund. Interest rates and Read more […]

MMT or Why Budget Deficits are Ok If They Don’t Grow Too Fast

Economics used to be Political Economy. Today politics in encouraging economics to look at different ideas such as Modern Monetary Theory. MMT argues that a country which borrows in its own currency will never default: as long as the US sells bonds denominated in US dollars, it won’t matter how big the federal budget deficit Read more […]

How to Stop Worrying about Inflation

Inflation in the US averaged 1.5% annually for the last five years with a peak of 2.9%. Despite today’s low and stable inflation numbers, anxiety that the price level will leap up is driving a search for the reasons it seems low. Today’s inflation is a bit lower than the average since 1914 of 3.2% Read more […]

Replacing LIBOR

LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate — is the benchmark for over $300 trillion of loans, derivatives and other financial instruments.  LIBOR started in the syndicated loan market of the 1960s; today it is quoted in different currencies and maturities. Following scandals in 2012-2013, LIBOR is being replaced and will disappear in 2021. For Read more […]

Sea Change at the Fed

Today’s Fed announcement keeping the Fed funds target range at 2.25% to 2.5% was more than simply leaving rates unchanged for the moment. Behind the headlines are changes in their expectations for inflation and the economy and adjustments in their operating procedures: The FOMC will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the Read more […]

Watching For Recession

Recent anxiety about an imminent recession sparked discussion of inverted yield curves and falling long term interest rates, The slope of the yield curve – the difference between the yield on the five or 10 year treasury note and a short term instrument like three month T-bills – may signal a recession. The chart shows Read more […]

Recession Chatter

Inspired, or worried, by the stock market there is more and more talk of a recession in 2019. To look past the usual comment that the stock market predicted nine of the last five recessions, a short list of positive and negative signals: Why There Won’t be an Early Recession Economy has momentum, growing faster Read more […]

S&P 500 Drops 90 points

Why? Trade Hopes dashed – It turned out a deal with China wasn’t quite yet a done deal. Politicians should be reminded that markets move much faster than trade negotiations or Congress. Yield Curve approaching inversion – Five-year drops below two-year, but maybe we should wait for the ten year to drop too. Rising Interest Read more […]

Housing Slows

Sales of new and existing single-family homes have fallen since their recent high in November 2017 while pending home sales are flat to down so far this year.  Starts of new single-family homes are volatile but also remain below the peak seen at the end of 2017.  Recent press reports of declining activity in several Read more […]