Please note: Data values previously published are subject to revision. For more information, refer to the vintage series in ALFRED®.
Financial market stress has fallen for the second consecutive week, according to the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index (STLFSI). For the week ending Oct. 16, the index measured -0.781, down modestly from the previous week’s revised value of -0.711. Measured on a four-week moving average basis, the index fell to its lowest level since the week ending Sept. 4.
Over the past week, 13 of the 18 indicators contributed negatively to the weekly change in the index, four more than the previous week. The largest negative contributions were made by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index (VIX) and by the Merrill Lynch Bond Market Volatility Index (Mlynch_BMVI_1mo). Only two of the 18 indicators contributed positively to the weekly change in the index, six fewer than the previous week. The largest positive weekly contribution was made by the expected inflation rate over the next 10 years (BIR_10yr).
Over the past year, 11 of the 18 indicators made a positive contribution to the index, two fewer than the previous week. As in the previous week, the two largest positive contributions over the past year were made by the BIR_10yr and by the yield spread between 10-year Treasury securities and Baa-rated corporate bonds (Corp_CRS). Seven indicators made a negative contribution to the index, two more than the previous week. The two largest negative contributions over the past year were made by the equity and bond market volatility indexes—the VIX and the Mlynch_BMVI_1mo, respectively.
For an explanation of the 18 component variables in the STLFSI, refer to the STLFSI Key.
The STLFSI measures the degree of financial stress in the markets and is constructed from 18 weekly data series: seven interest rate series, six yield spreads and five other indicators. Each of these variables captures some aspect of financial stress. Accordingly, as the level of financial stress in the economy changes, the data series are likely to move together.
How to interpret the index
The average value of the index, which begins in late 1993, is designed to be zero. Thus, zero is viewed as representing normal financial market conditions. Values below zero suggest below-average financial market stress, while values above zero suggest above-average financial market stress.
Note that the bar charts plot the change in the contribution from one week to the next or from the current week compared to the value 52 weeks earlier.
FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) is the main economic database of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.