What Is the S&P/TSX Composite Index?

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the performance of the stocks of the largest companies listed on Canada's primary stock exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

It is the equivalent of the S&P 500 market index in the United States, and as such is closely monitored by Canadian investors. Since the S&P/TSX Composite Index is comprised of Canada's largest and most prominent companies, it is often used as a barometer for the health of the Canadian economy.

Key Takeaways

  • The S&P/TSX Composite Index is a benchmark equity index that tracks around 250 of Canada's largest public companies.
  • It is viewed as a barometer of the Canadian economy, and is analogous to the S&P 500 Index in the United States.
  • Companies must maintain strict liquidity and market capitalization requirements in order to remain part of the index.

Understanding the S&P/TSX Composite Index

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is calculated by Standard and Poor's (S&P) and contains about 250 large Canadian firms. As of the first quarter of 2021, roughly one-third of the index's members were engaged either directly or indirectly in the natural resource sectors (such as mining, forestry, oil, and natural gas). Other notable sectors represented in the index include financial services, real estate, and industrial businesses. Together, these firms represent about 70% of the overall market capitalization of the TSX.

As a capitalization-weighted index, the S&P/TSX Composite Index is more influenced by large member companies than small ones. This is a common method of calculating stock indices, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index both sharing this methodology.

Companies wishing to be included in the S&P/TSX Composite Index must meet a series of eligibility criteria relating to their liquidity and market capitalization. Specifically, member companies will be removed from the index if their share prices remain below $1 for more than a specified period of time. Similarly, members must ensure that their market capitalization remains at least 0.05% of the index; while trading volume for each member's securities must remain at least 0.025% of the total volume for the index. Lastly, no one company is permitted to comprise more than 15% of its total trading volume.

Top 10 Index Components

As of Q1 2021, the top index components by market cap in the S&P/TSX index include the following stocks:

TSX Composite Index Components (Q1 2021)
SYMBOL NAME
SHOP-T Shopify Inc
RY-T Royal Bank of Canada
TD-T Toronto-Dominion Bank
CNR-T Canadian National Railway Co.
BNS-T Bank of Nova Scotia
ENB-T Enbridge Inc
BAM-A-T Brookfield Asset Management Inc Cl.A Lv
BMO-T Bank of Montreal
CP-T Canadian Pacific Railway Limited
TRP-T Tc Energy Corp
Source: The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX)

Real World Example of the S&P/TSX Composite Index

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has grown significantly in recent years, recently achieving an all-time high in Sept. 2019. After collapsing by 35% in 2008, the index rebounded by 45% over the following two years and has more than doubled since the depths of the 2007–2008 financial crisis.

The S&P 500 has had a similar track record. After losing 37% in 2008, it showed positive results in each of the following nine years and has grown by over 250% since Oct. 2008.