Mr. Silverblatt is apt to answer that question with a staccato series of his own: By what measure? Over what time frame? Until the recent selloff, the S&P 500 had doubled off its March 2009 bottom. To find a rise that fast you would have to go back to 1936, he says. In terms of dividends, the indicated rate of payouts is up 3.1% year to date, and 11.5% over February 2010, but still about 15% below February 2008. Earnings? S&P 500 companies are on track for a record year, he reminds.

Howard Silverblatt meticulously records the sometimes mundane but crucial details of the market as senior index analyst for Standard & Poor’s.If the stock market had a voice, it could well be Howard Silverblatt’s rapid-fire Brooklyn burr. As senior index analyst for S&P Indices, the 57-year-old is perhaps best known as a sort of high priest, historian and keeper of that ubiquitous market benchmark, the S&P 500-stock index. It isn’t as if Mr. Silverblatt single-handedly picks the stocks that go in and out of the index, the S&P 500 index committee does that.Rather, from an unprepossessing 27th-floor cubicle overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, he may do something just as important. He meticulously records the sometimes mundane but crucial details that help answer the one question everyone on Wall Street needs to know: How’s the market doing?
By Matt Philips, Feb. 26, 2011 WSJ

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