The S&P 500 index is the most widely followed benchmark for US equity markets, if not equities globally. Traders know the most popular companies in it as well – Apple, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Wells Fargo and so on. The S&P 500 index is the one used by most large hedge funds and asset managers to benchmark their funds and use it as the barometer of how well they are doing, not to mention the health of the US economy.
One way traders can access the S&P 500 index for speculative hedging opportunities, is through the E-mini S&P 500 futures or options. This product is far more capital efficient than a corresponding ETF product or even a basket of stocks. If you understand the broad market, what is pushing and pulling on it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, then the E-mini S&P provides a manageable-sized product that offers traders the ability to trade the market up or down.
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