Financial market stresses increased slightly during the week ending Oct. 4, 2013, according to the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index (STLFSI). Trends in the STLFSI over the past several weeks are consistent with the pattern that has emerged this year: On average, financial market stresses have been modestly higher since the first week of June than they were over the first five months of 2013. From the week ending Jan. 4, 2013, to the week ending May 31, 2013, the STLFSI averaged -0.842. Since the week ending June 7, 2013, the STLFSI has averaged -0.500.
As seen in the chart above, relative to the past week, 13 of the 18 indicators contributed positively to the change in the STLFSI. By contrast, in the prior week, only seven indicators made positive contributions. Compared with the previous week, the two largest positive contributions—by far—were accounted for by the equity market volatility index (VIX) and the Merrill Lynch bond market volatility index (Mlynch_BMVI_1mo). The largest negative contribution (relative to the previous week) was made by the spread between yields on 3-month commercial paper and 3-month Treasury bills (CPS_3mo).
The STLFSI continues to track close to its year-earlier level. Relative to a year earlier, when the STLFSI measured -0.639, the index increased by a modest 0.098. Compared with 52 weeks earlier, 10 of the 18 indicators contributed negatively to the change in the STLFSI, while eight indicators made positive contributions. Over the past year, the spread between yields on high-yield corporate bonds and 10-year U.S. Treasury securities (HighYield_CRS) made the largest negative contribution to the STLFSI. The two largest positive contributions were made by the expected inflation rate over the next 10 years (BIR_10yr) and the Mlynch_BMVI_1mo.
For an explanation of the 18 component variables in the STLFSI, refer to the STLFSI Key.