David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at Standard and Poor’s, says the ratings firm doesn’t like him to make predictions about the market. But even without such a constraint, he would be loath to make forecasts.

As this quant sees it, the best that you can do is look back at period of growth and periodic carnage, examine what has happened overall to the economy and to the regulatory environment, and then come up with two options: an optimistic one and a pessimistic one. To that end, he says: “The market is fairly priced right now, and you could make an equally good argument that it could go up, and that it could go down.”

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