S&P 500 Historical Market Caps of Individual Companies

The table below lists the historical market caps of all current and past S&P 500 companies. The list includes all companies that currently are or have been part of the index since 12/31/2013 (the index components keep constantly changing, examine the historical index composition from here). Note: the market value is blank if a company was not part of the index at the end of a specific year.

For monthly market caps since 3/31/1979, check the historical datasets provided by Siblis Research.

Market Capitalizations (USD, Million)

Purchase a dataset that lists the market caps of all current and past S&P 500 companies since 3/31/1979 and enterprise values since 3/31/1990. The market values are available for the last day of each quarter between 3/31/1979 and 12/31/2004 and for the last day of each month since 1/31/2005. Check a sample file from here.

For key historical data of the index companies, purchase the S&P 500 Researcher Dataset by Siblis Research which includes quarterly earnings, share prices, outstanding shares, market caps, total returns & component weights of all current & past S&P 500 companies since 3/31/1979, including enterprise values since 3/31/1990 and EV/EBITDA multiples since 12/31/1995. Examine what the dataset looks like.

Outstanding Shares Used to Calculate Market Capitalization

The outstanding common shares are taken from the SEC quarterly (10-Q/K) reports of the companies. This number is not fixed but keeps fluctuating when public firms are issuing more, buying back and sometimes splitting their shares. For majority of the companies, one of the quarters will end on 31st Dec. But some companies are using a fiscal year that differs from a calendar year and they might not have a quarter that ends on December. For these firms, the outstanding shares are taken from a quarter that ends on October or November.

Different Stock Blasses & Market Capitalization

Many companies have different types of common stock (note: preferred stock means a security that is a mixture of debt and common stock and is not considered as a separate share class). The most common reason for multiple share classes is to restrict the voting power of some share classes. This is especially common with high-tech companies whose founders want to enjoy the benefits of going public but still maintain full control of their companies. A good example of this is Alphabet (Google) that has two publicly traded share lines, A (GOOGL) and C (GOOG), and also B-class that is not publicly traded. A has one, B has ten and C has no votes. These shares with more votes are usually traded at slightly higher price, although it is very hard to define what is the exact monetary value of having more voting power.

When market cap is calculated, all of the common share classes need to be taken account. The common practice is to combine the number of outstanding shares of all classes and use the price of the share class with the largest trading volume. Alternative method is to calculate the market cap of all the share lines separately and then summing up the value.
For the companies with multiple share lines, the different classes are combined as one figure on the table below.

EXCEPTIONS: For the years 2014 and 2015, the caps for Alphabet and Discovery Communications are calculated separately for different share classes. For the year 2015, also the caps for the both lines of News Corp and 21st Century Fox and are calculated separately. The reason for this is that since 2014, S&P Dow Jones Indices is allowing one company to have multiple stock lines part of their US indexes and their weights are calculated separately.

Note about Alphabet/Google: Before the year 2014, the B-class shares are combined with A-class and the price of A-line is used as the price. From 2014 onwards, B-class is no more combined with A-class and these shares are not taken account when calculating the market value for the company.

The Top US Corporations in 2016

At the beginning of this year, the top ten list of most valuable companies is dominated by technology. The combined value of the 10 largest companies is pretty much the same as it was a at the beginning of 2015. The biggest winner during the 2015 was Amazon.com that has jumped as the fifth most valuable firm. One of the biggest losers was Walmart whose value was decreasing almost $100 billion last year.

The rise of Apple has been phenomenal. At the end of 2008, Apple was valued at $75,998 million but february 2015 the company’s market cap exceeded $700 billion. Apple’s value has been decreasing since July 2015 and was $586 859,3 million at the beginning of 2016 but the company is still the most valuable corporation in US.

Once clearly the largest US corporation, ExxonMobil’s market cap has been stagnant for the past ten years. At the end of 2015, the company was valued at $324 501 million, much less than a year ago. The cheap oil price is likely to cause problems for the company also in the future.

Microsoft has been able to recover from the sharp decrease of its valuation during 2008 and was the second largest US company on 12/31/2015. But Microsoft’s current value is still far away from its historical peak value during the dot-com boom: on Dec 27th 1999 the company was valued at $612,487 million.

S&P 500 Index

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is maybe the most followed stock index for the US equity market and for the whole economic mood as well. It is a common benchmark to which the performance of a portfolio is compared. When someone is claiming that their portfolio is beating “the market”, it is likely that they are referring to the S&P 500. The index represent around 80% of the total stock market of US. In June 2016, 55 components represented more than 50% of the index value. Since 2005, SPX has been float weighted, meaning that the weight of a company is adjusted based on its public float. For example Wal-Mart and Berkshire Hathaway are known for having a lot of restricted shares controlled by insiders.

Market Cap & Market Value of a Firm

Market capitalization of a company means the market value of all of the company’s shares during a certain point of time. The market cap can be seen as a public opinion of what is the monetary value of a public corporation. It is commonly used to rank companies by their sizes. Calculating the market cap is not always straight forward. A company can have multiple share classes trading with different prices and also some share lines that are not publicly traded but hold by e.g. the founders of a company. There are also other metrics used to give a value for a corporation. Enterprise value takes account also the outstanding debt and preferred stock.

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