S&P 500 Index

From MarketsWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The S&P 500 Index, considered to be the world's leading benchmark for institutional investors, is an index owned and maintained by Standard & Poor's Corp. It is composed of 500 publicly held, predominantly U.S. corporations, all of which are considered "large caps." All stocks in the S&P 500 index are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.


The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is capitalization weighted, e.g., component companies weighted according to the total market value of their outstanding shares. The impact of a component's price change is proportional to the issue's total market value, which is the share price times the number of shares outstanding. These are summed for all 500 stocks and divided by a predetermined base value. The base value for the S&P 500 Index is adjusted to reflect changes in capitalization resulting from mergers, acquisitions, stock rights, substitutions, etc.

In short, S&P 500 Index components exhibit the following characteristics:[1]

  • Market Coverage – Approximately 75 percent of the U.S. equities market
  • Weighting – Market capitalization
  • Market Capitalization – Minimum of US$ 5 billion
  • Public Float – At least 50%
  • Reconstitution – On an as-needed basis


The history of the S&P 500 dates back to 1923, with an expansion to include 500 companies in 1957.[2]

In May of 2010, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and its longtime rival, the International Securities Exchange (ISE), traded charges Wednesday in a long-running dispute over who had the right to trade options contracts tied to major stock indexes. The CBOE and stock-index developers sought to defend in a Chicago court against arguments that the ISE ought to be able to list options on stock market benchmarks like the S&P 500, despite the CBOE's long-held licenses on the indexes. CBOE began trading stock index options in 1983, but in November 2006 the ISE sought a judgment in New York that would let it offer its own contracts on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average without obtaining licenses from the index developers.[3]

On May 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Deutsche Boerse (owner of the ISE) to overturn lower court rulings restraining the ISE from trading the S&P 500 Index. [4] Since there is no appeal beyond the U.S. Supreme Court (in the United States) this is the end to this particular piece of litigation.

On May 3, 2013, the S&P 500 went beyond 1,600 points for the first time closing at 1,614.42.[5]

Multiple Products

Index traders and institutions have varied product offerings related to the S&P 500 index -- futures and futures options, equity index options and exchange-traded funds.

CBOE Options on S&P 500 Index (SPX) Overview

In the security options world, the Chicago Board Options Exchange is the sole options exchange licensee for the S&P 500, the most actively traded index at the exchange.)[6]

Beginning March 9, 2015, the CBOE expands trading hours for the SPX options, adding more than six hours of additional trading five days a week. The extended hours for SPX options will run Monday through Friday, beginning each day at 2:00 a.m. CT and ending at 8:15 a.m. CT. The 2:00 a.m. CT start in Chicago syncs with the 8:00 a.m. open of trading in London.[7]

CME Group S&P 500 Contract Overview

In futures, CME introduced trading in S&P 500 futures in 1982, a few years later adding options on the index. In 1997, CME launched trading in the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract which, due to its broad appeal and electronic focus, now trades more than the larger sized S&P 500 futures contract.[8]

Trade Unit $250 times the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Price Index
Point Descriptions 1 point = .01 index points = $2.50
Contract Listing 8 months in the March quarterly cycle. Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec.
Ticker SP
Floor Trading Hours 8:30 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Month end(3:15 p.m.) LTD(3:15 p.m.)
Minimum Fluctuation, Floor Trading 0.10=$25.00
Globex Hours Mon/Thurs 5:00 p.m.-8:15 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; Shutdown period from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. nightly; Sun & Hol 5:00 p.m.-8:15 a.m.
Minimum Fluctuation, Globex 0.10=$25.00

See Also


  1. "S&P 500”. Standard & Poor's.
  2. "S&P 500 Factsheet”. Standard & Poor's.
  3. Options Exchanges Spar Over Stock Indexes In Illinois Court. Nasdaq.
  4. Deutsche Boerse Unit Spurned by Court on Index Options. Bloomberg.
  5. What's Beyond the S&P 500's Relentless Rally. CNBC.
  6. "CBOE contract specs". Chicago Board Options Exchange.
  7. CBOE Set to Expand VIX and SPX Options Trading Hours in Early March. CBOE.
  8. "CME contract specs". CME Group.