What is Standard & Poor's (S&P)?

Standard & Poor's (S&P) is an American financial services company. It is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds. It is well known for its stock market indices, the U.S.-based S&P 500, the Australian S&P/ASX 200, the Canadian S&P/TSX, the ItalianS&P/MIB and India's S&P CNX Nifty. The company is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also includeMoody's Investor Service and Fitch Ratings. Its head office is located on 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan,New York City.

S&P Indices:  the world’s leading index provider, maintains a wide variety of investable and benchmark indices to meet an array of investor needs. Over $1.25 trillion is directly indexed to Standard & Poor's family of indices, which includes the S&P 500, the world's most followed stock market index, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, the S&P Global BMI, an index with approximately 11,000 constituents, the S&P GSCI, the industry's most closely watched commodities index, and the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index, the premier investable index for U.S. municipal bonds.

S&P Capital IQ: a brand of the McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP), is a leading provider of multi-asset class data, research and analytics to institutional investors, investment advisors and wealth managers around the world. It provides a broad suite of capabilities designed to help track performance, generate alpha, identify new trading and investment ideas, and perform risk analysis and mitigation strategies. Through leading desktop solutions such as Capital IQ, Global Credit Portal and MarketScope Advisor desktops; enterprise solutions such as S&P Securities Evaluations, Global Data Solutions, and Compustat; and research offerings, including Leveraged Commentary & Data, Global Market Intelligence, and company and fund research, S&P Capital IQ sharpens financial intelligence into the wisdom today’s investors need.

History :

The company traces its history back to 1860, with the publication by Henry Varnum Poor of History of Railroads and Canals in the United States. This book was an attempt to compile comprehensive information about the financial and operational state of U.S. railroad companies. Henry Varnum went on to establish H.V. and H.W. Poor Co. with his son, Henry William, and published annually updated versions of this book.
In 1906, Luther Lee Blake founded the Standard Statistics Bureau, with the view to providing financial information on non-railroad companies. Instead of an annually published book, Standard Statistics would use 5" x 7" cards, allowing for more frequent updates.
In 1941, Poor and Standard Statistics merged to become Standard & Poor's Corp. In 1966, the company was acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies, and now encompasses the Financial Services division.

Definition of 'Standard & Poor's 500 Index - S&P 500'

An index of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry grouping, among other factors. The S&P 500 is designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities and is meant to reflect the risk/return characteristics of the large cap universe. 

Companies included in the index are selected by the S&P Index Committee, a team of analysts and economists at Standard & Poor's. The S&P 500 is a market value weighted index - each stock's weight is proportionate to its market value.

S&P underlines India downgrade risk

Is India about to move into the great “beyond” after living many years as one of the Brics?
Analysts at Standard & Poor’s seem to think so. On Monday the rating agency warned again that India was running the risk of losing its investment grade credit rating. It follows a gloomy report published on Friday, titled, “Will India Be The First BRIC Fallen Angel?”
The reasons are myriad and Indians are reminded of them on a seemingly daily basis: slowing growth, limping manufacturing, record deficits of every sort, and a government bent on looking the other way while the economy flails.

In April, S&P downgraded its outlook for India from neutral to negative, warning of the possibility of a credit downgrade within two years. As beyondbrics reported, such a downgrade would not only set India behind its Bric brethren; it could be devastating for the economy as the country would find it harder to borrow money.
On the plus side, the report suggests that “despite recent problems, the Indian economy remains in much better shape to withstand this period of heightened global uncertainty than it was in the early 1990s”. Or, as beyondbrics put it last week: this ain’t 1991.
Still, with this latest warning about India’s deteriorating fiscal position – underling just how crucial government action is – Delhi has again been served notice. It need not go “beyond” the call of duty to keep India from falling out of the Brics; it must simply start to heed that call.