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What is the S&P 500?

Updated: Jun 27



The S&P 500 is one yardstick of how the American economy is doing, specifically how business is going in the US. It is an average (a ‘weighted average’—more on that another time) of 500 of the biggest American companies, including services you use on the regular, like Google and Amazon. It is used to gauge the health and wealth of the stock market.


S&P stands for "Standard and Poor's" which was a merger of two financial report companies back in the 1940's. In 1957, they started tracking 500 largest (publicly traded--more on that later, too) American companies, and it has been a useful tool ever since!


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