By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK May 6 Standard & Poor's, initially
known as the Standard Statistics Company, created its first
stock market index in 1923. It consisted of the stocks of 233
companies and was computed weekly.
Three years later, it developed a 90-stock composite price
index computed daily. That was expanded over the years.
On March 4, 1957, the Standard & Poor's 500
The S&P 500 index has became synonymous with the term "U.S.
stock market." It is one of the leading benchmarks for the
market, even though others, including the Russell and Wilshire
indexes, are broader measures of the market. Still, investors
use the S&P 500 as the main index to measure their portfolios'
performance, with roughly $5.6 trillion benchmarked to the S&P
The S&P's 500 companies represent the U.S. market more
broadly than the Dow Jones industrial average, which includes
the stocks of only 30 companies.
American Telephone and Telegraph was the heaviest-weighted
stock in the index in 1957. The company, now known as AT&T
, is the 11th-largest company in the S&P 500 index.
Today the S&P 500 index has a total market cap of about
$14.96 trillion. Sixty-nine of the 500 original companies remain
in the S&P 500 today.
Below are some key dates and milestones in the history of
the S&P 500.
1923: Standard Statistics Company, as S&P was formerly
known, develops its first stock market index consisting of the
stocks of 233 U.S. companies, computed weekly.
1926: Standard Statistics creates a 90-stock composite price
index, computed daily.
March 4, 1957: The Standard & Poor's 500 index is
introduced, tracking the performance of the stocks of 500
leading U.S. companies. With a total market capitalization of
$172 billion, the S&P 500 followed the performance of 425
industrial, 15 rail and 60 utility stocks.
1958: S&P 500 ends the year up 38.06 percent, its best year
in terms of percentage gain.
June 4, 1968: S&P 500 closes above 100 for the first time.
August 31, 1976: Vanguard introduces the first retail index
mutual fund, the Vanguard First Index Investment Trust, which
tracks the S&P 500, allowing individual investors for the first
time to buy into the broad market with a single purchase. The
fund, now known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, has
$125 billion in assets.
April 21, 1982: The Chicago Mercantile Exchange begins
trading futures based on the S&P 500.
July 1, 1983: Options contracts based on the S&P 500 index
begin trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
Oct 19, 1987: S&P 500 registers its worst daily percentage
loss, falling 20.47 percent. The one-day crash, known as "Black
Monday," was blamed on program trading and those using a hedging
strategy known as portfolio insurance. Despite the losses, the
S&P 500 still ended up that year.
Jan. 22, 1993: State Street's Standard & Poor's Depositary
Receipts, or the SPDR S&P 500, an exchange-traded fund
(ETF) that tracks the S&P 500's performance, begins trading on
the American Stock Exchange. It was the first ETF to trade in
the United States. The first SPDR and the many variations that
followed are commonly referred to as the "spiders." The fund
currently has about $133.8 billion in assets, making it the
largest exchange-traded fund in terms of assets.
Sept. 9, 1997: CME introduces the S&P E-mini futures,
which is valued at $50 multiplied by the price of the S&P 500,
or one-fifth of the size of the "big" S&P futures contract
. It has since become the most heavily traded futures
contract on the CME.
Feb. 2, 1998: S&P 500 closes above 1,000 for the first time.
March 24, 2000: The S&P 500 index reaches an all-time
intraday high of 1,552.87 during the dot-com bubble.
March 24, 2004: Trading begins in futures on the VIX,
the CBOE Volatility Index measuring implied volatility of S&P
500 index options. The VIX is known as the market's "fear
gauge." It tends to rise when stocks fall. It recently fell to
levels not seen since April 2007.
March-September 2005: The index is transitioned from simply
market-value weighted to float adjusted, where the market
capitalization is calculated using only the number of shares
available for public trading.
Oct. 9, 2007: Index closes at a record high of 1,565.15.
Oct. 11, 2007: S&P 500 hits intraday record high of
Oct 13, 2008: S&P 500 marks its best daily percentage gain,
rising 11.58 percent. It also registers its largest single-day
point increase of 104.13 points.
2008: For the year, S&P 500 falls 38.49 percent, its worst
yearly percentage loss. In September 2008, Lehman Brothers
collapsed as the financial crisis spread.
March 9, 2009: S&P 500 closes at 676.53, its closing low
after the onset of the 2008 financial crisis and the Lehman
Aug. 20, 2012: Apple becomes the biggest U.S.
company and takes over as the market capitalization leader in
the S&P 500, pushing Exxon Mobil into the No. 2 spot.
Since then, Exxon and Apple have gone back and forth between the
two spots, but Apple is currently No. 1 with a market cap of
about $409 billion. Exxon's market cap is about $396 billion.
March 28, 2013: S&P 500 ends at 1,569.19, surpassing its
previous record closing high set in 2007.
April 10, 2013: S&P 500 hits new all-time intraday record
high at 1,589.07, surpassing previous record of 1,576.09 set in
April 10, 2013: S&P 500 closes at a record high of 1,587.73
- eclipsing the record reached on March 28, when it climbed
above the Oct. 9, 2007, milestone of 1,565.15.
April 29, 2013: S&P 500 ends at a record high of 1,593.61.
April 30, 2013: S&P 500 climbs to an all-time intraday high
of 1,597.57 in the final moments of trading - and ends at that
level, which also represents another record closing high.
May 2, 2013: S&P ends at a record high of 1,597.59, just off
a fresh intraday high of 1,598.60.
May 3, 2013: S&P 500 closes above 1,600 for the first time -
finishing at 1,614.42 after a much better-than-expected April
U.S. non-farm payrolls report. The index also hit an all-time
intraday high of 1,618.46.
May 6, 2013: During the session, the S&P 500 hits an
all-time intraday high 1,619.77.
May 6, 2013: S&P 500 ends at a record high of 1,617.50.
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices Senior Index Analyst Howard
Silverblatt, the Standard & Poor's book, "Innovation &
Evolution, The S&P 500," CME, CBOE, Vanguard Group Inc, State
Street Global Advisors, Thomson Reuters.