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I'm getting different constituents from various places.

An Excel sheet from the S&P website indicates 498 constituents in the S&P 500: Link to Excel Sheet on the S&P website, look at the "Issues" tab . However, I can't ascertain if this is the complete list or not. And I can't find any page on the S&P website [Link] that simply lists the constituents.

On the Wikipedia page [Link] there are 502 constituents listed.

On the CBOE website [Link] too, there are 502 constituents listed (it says it is updated at the end of every month).

However, the Wikipedia list doesn't match the CBOE list. I was able to confirm that the CBOE list is more current than the Wikipedia list because CBOE lists American Airlines (AAL), and Wikipedia lists Allergan (AGN). Apparently AAL replaced AGN on the list in March, 2015. So, Wikipedia is definitely wrong/outdated.

So, at the moment, my status is that I have a list from the S&P website containing 498, and a list from CBOE containing 502. And I have no way of confirming if either of them is correct.

Do you have any ideas?

Edit: I only want the constituent list. Not seeking any financial data. It's surprising to me that lists available from respectable sites on the Internet don't match.

  • "The index constituents listed below were current as of March 14, 2015" is clearly mentioned on the Wikipedia page. It takes a human to update a wiki page. The "S&P website" file that you linked clearly says "S&P 500 Q1 2015" and is prepared by an analyst for earnings estimate purpose and should not be considered official. – base64 Jun 24 '15 at 23:45
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    You can't find such a page on the S&P site because it is paywalled information. Timely and authoritative index data isn't free. If you absolutely require authoritative & up-to-date information, you could get a paid subscription for S&P index data: "SPICE provides subscribers with access to timely, comprehensive data, corporate action alerts and developments that affect index composition and weighting". There may be other data providers that sublicense, but in general, don't expect to find a free source that is both timely and authoritative. – Chris W. Rea Jun 25 '15 at 2:14
  • @ChrisW.Rea I just want an accurate list of constituents. I don't want any financial data. And it surprises me that no two lists on the internet match. – thanks_in_advance Jun 25 '15 at 6:24
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    There is an arbitrage game whenever the constituents in the index change; the constituent list has true value. Don't act so surprised it's not available for free ;) – user662852 Jun 25 '15 at 15:26
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    How would you determine whether a list you find online is accurate without access to the definitive source of the data? Also unclear why you need accurate data. What are you intending to do with it, and why wouldn't a "close enough" list be good enough for that purpose? – Chris W. Rea Jun 25 '15 at 17:34
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I don't know a free way to get access to this info on a daily basis other than perhaps squinting hard at CNBC's screen when they show their S&P heat map. However, that CBOE list looks accurate to me for the beginning of June. There were in fact 502 components on that date.

(Interesting trivia: Here's a histogram of the population size of the S&P "500" during 2015.)

size| days at that size
----|------------------
498 | 0
499 | 1
500 | 3
501 | 17
502 | 106
503 | 0

I can tell you that since the beginning of June the following changes to the index occurred:

dropped LO (Lorillard -- acquired by Reynolds)
dropped ACT (Actavis -- acquired by Allergan)
added QRVO (Qorvo)
added AGN (Allergan)

So the count is still 502 as of today.

  • Thanks -- appreciate this interesting info. Surprised that the index changes so much. – thanks_in_advance Jun 28 '15 at 3:58
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The number of constituents in S&P 500 may not be exactly 500.

The reason being they select largest 500 COMPANIES. These companies may correspond to more than 1 SECURITY. For example, class-A and class-B shares of the same company. Similarly, corporate-actions like spin-off might add to the number of constituents.

Other corporate actions, handled differently, might reduce the number of constituents.

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