Is the S&P 500 index (SPX) often mentioned in business news a capped or non-capped index? I mean, is the weight of a single company, or a single sector capped by a maximum percentage?

And, is it a Total Return or a Price Return index? Some sources on the Internet say it is a Total Return index (Dividends are reinvested), whereas other sources say the other way.

2 Answers 2


The S&P 500 is only adjusted for special dividends, share buybacks, and other corporate actions (splits, mergers) so it is neither completely a price return or a total return index (although since the latter are more infrequent, it's closer to a price-return index).

When the companies within the index pay a dividend, the price of their shares (and thus the index) goes down.

Note that the index itself is just a number - it is not a fund or anything actually investible. Funds that track the S&P 500 (or any other index) by buying the component stocks in the same proportion as the index can choose whether or not to reinvest dividends, which is where the confusion may be coming in. There are versions of S&P 500 trackers that pay out dividends (and effectively are "price return" funds) or reinvest dividends for you (and are total return funds).

There is no cap on weight in the current index. It's a simple weighted (by number of shares) average with a divisor to account for corporate actions listed above, and to keep the index value consistent when switching companies in and out.


The S&P 500 Index has to be Price Return, because cagr pages offer you the choice of both "Annualized S&P 500 Return" and "Annualized S&P 500 Return (Dividends Reinvested)".

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