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The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is the main US index, and the largest index in the world. It is used as a global barometer for the world markets. All major investment funds, hedge funds, and investment portfolios are benchmarked again the S&P 500.
It is comprised of the 500 largest US companies, and a significant portion of the overall the United States of America’s market capitalization. The index is not based on any one sector, so it is seen as the best overall signal of the US market.
The index is free-floating and capitalization-weighted, and broken down into individual market sectors; consumer non-cyclical, consumer cyclical, financial, energy, technology, communications, industrial, basic materials and utilities.