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Standard & Poor’s (S&P)



Definition

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a U.S.-based financial services company that provides market intelligence in the form of credit ratings, indexes, data analysis, and equity research. It is best known for producing a range of stock market indices, including the S&P 500, commonly used as a measure of the U.S. stock market’s health. The company’s credit ratings also play a crucial role in providing investors with information on the creditworthiness of bonds and other debt securities.

Phonetic

The phonetics for “Standard & Poor’s (S&P)” are as follows: Standard: /ˈstændərd/&: /ænd/ or /ənd/Poor’s: /pʊərz/ or /pɔ:rz/S: /ɛs/&: /ænd/ or /ənd/P: /pi:/

Key Takeaways

  1. Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a leading index provider and credit rating agency. It provides a variety of financial market intelligence and has become a key source of financial research for investors and businesses globally.
  2. S&P is best known for its stock market indexes, the most notable of which are the S&P 500 and the S&P Global 1200, which are widely used as indicators of the overall performance of U.S. and global equities respectively. These indexes have been universally recognized as measures of the U.S. stock market and are used as benchmarks by professional investors.
  3. Aside from its popular indexes, S&P also plays a major role in providing credit ratings for businesses and nations. These credit ratings are critical to investors as they help to determine the creditworthiness of the debtor and thus, the risk level of their investment.

Importance

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is extremely important in the business and finance world as it is one of the leading providers of independent credit ratings, indices, data, and research. It plays a crucial role in the global capital markets by providing investors with the intelligence they need to make informed investment decisions. The most well-known function of S&P is its issuance of credit ratings for debt securities and entities, which helps investors gauge the creditworthiness of a potential investment. Furthermore, S&P’s stock market indices, like the S&P 500, serve as industry benchmarks and are widely followed by investors, professionals, and academia in the global investment community. Thus, Standard & Poor’s impacts decisions about investment allocation, risk management, and asset pricing throughout the world, making it an essential player in global business and finance processes.

Explanation

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a leading credit rating agency, serving a crucial role in the world of finance and investment. Its major purpose is to offer both individual and corporate investors detailed analyses, including credit ratings, indices, investment research, and risk evaluations. By doing so, S&P provides information that allows investors to make informed decisions about the safety and suitability of investing in various debt instruments such as corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and sovereign bonds.One of S&P’s most recognized contributions is the widely tracked S&P 500, a stock market index that tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies listed on the stock exchanges in the United States. This index is used by investors as a barometer of the overall U.S. stock market and a reflection of the performance of the large-cap universe. In terms of its credit rating function, S&P assesses the financial health and creditworthiness of companies and governments, and their ability to repay debts. These credit ratings can affect the interest rates that companies or governments must pay to borrow money, adding essential information to the global financial community.

Examples

1. S&P Global Ratings: This is a direct application of the services that Standard & Poor’s provides. It is an American credit rating agency and a division of S&P Global that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities. Companies, government bodies, and other entities rely on S&P’s ratings to make decisions about creditworthiness when issuing or buying debt securities.2. S&P 500 Index: This is a popular stock market index that measures the stock performance of 500 large companies listed on the stock exchanges in the United States. Since it’s considered representative of the US stock market, many investors use it as a benchmark for their own portfolios.3. Downgrade of United States credit-rating: In 2011, S&P downgraded the credit rating of the United States from AAA (highest rating) to AA+ (still high, but slightly more risky) citing political risks and a rising public debt burden. This decision was consequential, as it impacts the cost at which the US government can borrow, affecting federal spending and potentially the country’s overall economic health.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Standard & Poor’s (S&P)?

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is an American financial services company known as one of the top three credit-rating agencies worldwide. They are also recognized for publishing financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities.

Who owns S&P?

S&P Global, a public company trading on the NYSE, owns Standard & Poor’s.

What is the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 is a stock market index created by Standard & Poor’s. It tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.

How does S&P rate companies?

S&P rates a company’s creditworthiness using a letter grading system, ranging from AAA to D. AAA represents the highest creditworthiness and D, a default.

Why is the S&P rating important?

S&P ratings influence the interest rates that companies and governments pay to borrow money. A higher rating indicates lower risk to investors, often leading to lower borrowing costs.

How can I access the services offered by S&P?

You can access S&P’s services via their official website or by subscribing to their various analytical tools and research products.

Is the S&P 500 a good representation of the U.S. economy?

While it isn’t a comprehensive representation of the entire U.S. economy, the S&P 500 does provide a substantial snapshot, as it includes companies from all sectors that make up a significant portion of the U.S. economy.

How frequently is the S&P 500 updated?

The value of the S&P 500 index updates in real-time during trading hours, but it’s formally rebalanced on a quarterly basis. However, S&P may also make updates outside these timetables for significant corporate actions.

How does S&P decide which companies go into the S&P 500?

The S&P Index Committee selects companies based on a variety of factors including market capitalization, liquidity, and industry representation. However, the ultimate decision is at their discretion.

Related Finance Terms

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