Stands for Standard & Poor’s 500. The S&P 500 index was created in 1957. It is a basket of 500 stocks that are considered to be widely held. The 500 stocks are chosen for market size, liquidity and industry grouping. The S&P 500 is designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities.
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S&P 500 Index from 1950 to 2012
|Operator||S&P Dow Jones Indices|
|Market cap||US$18.5 trillion
(as of August 31, 2015)
|Weighting method||Free-float capitalization-weighted|
The Standard & Poor's 500 often abbreviated as the S&P 500 (or just "the S&P"), is an American stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. The S&P 500 index components and their weightings are determined by S&P Dow Jones Indices. It differs from other U.S. stock market indices, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Nasdaq Composite index, because of its diverse constituency and weighting methodology. It is one of the most commonly followed equity indices, and many consider it one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market, and a bellwether for the U.S. economy. The National Bureau of Economic Research has classified common stocks as a leading indicator of business cycles.
The S&P 500 was developed and continues to be maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a joint venture majority-owned by McGraw Hill Financial. S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes many stock market indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P MidCap 400, the S&P SmallCap 600, and the S&P Composite 1500. It is a free-float capitalization-weighted index, and has many ticker symbols, such as: ^GSPC, INX, and $SPX.