How often do companies leave or cut the S&P 500

September 15, 2023
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The S&P 500 is a dynamic, constantly changing index, so removing companies from the index is a normal part of the investment process.

Why do companies leave the S&P 500 index

On average, about 20 to 25 companies leave the S&P 500 each year and are replaced with other stocks that meet the guidelines for index membership. These changes are announced five trading days before the index change, which occurs on the third Friday of March, June, September, and December and highly affects investor sentiment and financial forecasts. 

There are a few reasons why a company might be removed from the S&P 500, including:

  • company’s market capitalization falls below the $11.4 billion threshold as it is the minimum market capitalization requirement for inclusion in the S&P 500;
  • delisting the company due to financial problems or if it merges with another company, making it unavailable on the stock market;
  • acquisition by another company. In this case, the acquirer typically replaces the acquired company in the S&P 500;
  • the company no longer meets the index's criteria, which include factors such as industry, financial performance, and liquidity.

In addition to these reasons, a company may be removed from the S&P 500 if it is involved in a scandal or if it is the subject of regulatory scrutiny. 

The removal of a company from the S&P 500 can have a significant impact on the index’s performance and investment strategies. If a large company is removed from the index, it can cause the index to decline. However, if a small company is removed from the index, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the index's performance and overall equity index.

Impact of companies exiting the S&P 500 on portfolio management

The removal of a company from the S&P 500 can have a significant impact on portfolio management. This is because the S&P 500 is a benchmark index that is used by many investors to track their portfolios’ performance. When a company is removed from the index, it can cause investors to re-evaluate their portfolios and make changes to their investment strategies.

The effects are as follows. 

Rebalancing

When a company is removed from the S&P 500, investors need to rebalance their portfolios to ensure they are still aligned with their investment goals.

Re-allocation

For example, investors may decide to increase their exposure to the sectors represented by the companies that were added to the index.

Risk management

If a large and well-known company is removed from the index, it can cause the portfolio to become more risky. In such a case, investors need to take steps to mitigate this risk, such as increasing their exposure to safer assets.

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