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What is 'Standard & Poor's - S&P'

Standard & Poor's (S&P) is the world's leading index provider and the foremost source of independent credit ratings. Standard & Poor's has been providing financial market intelligence to decision makers for more than 150 years. S&P Global divisions include S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Platts.

BREAKING DOWN 'Standard & Poor's - S&P'

Standard & Poor’s, which has offices in 26 countries, is well-known to investors around the world for its wide variety of investable and benchmark indices, and the large number of credit ratings it issues. Standard & Poor’s is a market leader in its categories.

S&P 500 Index

The S&P 500 Index launched in March 1957. It was the first index to be published daily, and it is a common benchmark for determining the overall health of the U.S. stock market. The S&P 500 Index contains 500 of the largest stocks in the United States, making it a tool to gauge the overall health of large American companies. More than $7.8 trillion is benchmarked to the index.

Standard & Poor's Wide Coverage

Other popular indexes offered by S&P Global cover different sectors of the market and different market capitalizations. Large offerings from S&P Dow Jones Indices include the S&P SmallCap 600, the S&P MidCap 400, the S&P Composite 1500 and the S&P 900. Each of those indexes represents a look at market health based on its sub-sector.

Standard & Poor's is a leading credit risk researcher. Standard & Poor's covers multiple industries, benchmarks, asset classes and geographies. Investors get a wide range of information from the service Standard & Poor's offers.

In 2016, McGraw Hill Financial rebranded itself as S&P Global. The company has more than 1,400 credit analysts. More than 1.2 million credit ratings have been issued on governments, corporations, the financial sector and securities. S&P has rated $47.5 trillion in debt as of July 2016.

Standard & Poor's History

Prior to being Standard & Poor's, the company started as the Standard Statistics Company. In 1923, the Standard Statistics Company released its first stock market indicator, which contained 233 companies. The company would come to be known as Standard & Poor's thanks to a 1941 merger with Poor's Publishing. The merger also grew the stock index to 416 companies before hitting the magic number 500 in 1957. In 2012, Standard & Poor’s combined its index operations with the Dow Jones Indexes to create a leader in the industry.

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