Please note: Data values previously published are subject to revision. For more information, refer to the vintage series in ALFRED®.
Financial market stress rose slightly in the latest reporting week, according to the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index (STLFSI). For the week ending May 6, the index measured -0.919, up from the previous week’s revised value of -0.954. The increase was the second in the past 12 weeks.
Over the past week, 12 of the 18 indicators contributed positively to the weekly change in the index, seven more than the previous week. The three largest positive contributions were made by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index (VIX), by the yield spread between 3-month commercial paper and the 3-month Treasury bill (CPS_3mo) and by the financial markets’ expected inflation rate over the next 10 years (BIR_10yr). Six of the 18 indicators contributed negatively to the change in the index, six fewer than the previous week. The two largest negative contributions were made by the yield on Baa-rated corporate bonds (BAA) and by the Merrill Lynch Asset-Backed Master BBB-rated security (Mlynch_BBBAA).
Over the past year, 13 of the 18 indicators made a positive contribution to the index (one fewer than the previous week) and five indicators made a negative contribution to the index (one more than the previous week). For the 14th consecutive week, the two largest positive contributions over the past year were made by the difference between the Merrill Lynch High-Yield Corporate Master II Index and the 10-year U.S. Treasury security (HighYield_CRS); and by the Merrill Lynch High-Yield Corporate Master II Index itself (Mlynch_HighYld_MasterII). For the 12th consecutive week, the largest negative contribution was made by the bond market volatility index (Mlynch_BMVI_1mo).
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.