S&P 500 brokers provide access to the most popular stock index in the United States, followed closely by the Nasdaq. This guide includes a comprehensive breakdown of the criteria required for US stocks to be listed in the S&P 500, as well as an analysis of the top performing companies in the index. We also explain how to get started with S&P 500 brokers and list the top supporting platforms, tools and investing apps. Find out how to compare online brokers with access to the S&P 500 in 2024.
S&P 500 Brokers
These are the 5 best brokers for trading on the S&P 500:
#1 - Forex.com
Why We Chose Forex.com
Forex.com boasts a global reputation with multiple awards and 20+ years experience. Regulated in the US, EU, UK and Canada they provide a huge range of day trading markets, not just forex, and offer competitive fees on a cutting-edge platform. The brand also provides a suite of additional tools, from performance analytics and SMART Signals to advanced charts and strategy builders.
"Forex.com remains a best-in-class brokerage for active forex traders of all experience levels, with over 80 currency pairs, tight spreads from 0.0 pips and low commissions. The powerful charting platforms collectively offer over 100 technical indicators, as well as extensive research tools."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Spot Metals
- Regulator: NFA, CFTC
- Platforms: MT4, MT5, TradingView, eSignal, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $100
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:50
- You can enjoy industry-leading forex pricing starting from 0.0 pips, plus fast execution speeds of less than 1 second
- Excellent trading tools including the Trading Central research dashboard and the SMART Signals price pattern scanner
- The free demo account allows you to practice day trading strategies in a risk-free environment
- The investment offering varies between countries
- The $15 monthly inactivity fee is higher than some competitors, including XM which only charges $5
- It's a shame that there's no copy trading platform for beginners or signal providers
#2 - eToro USA
Why We Chose eToro USA
eToro is a social investing platform that offers short-term and long-term trading on stocks, ETFs, options and crypto. The broker is well-known for its user-friendly community-centred platform and competitive fees. With FINRA and SIPC oversight and millions of users across the world, eToro is still one of the most respected brands in the industry. eToro securities trading is offered by eToro USA Securities, Inc.
"eToro remains a top pick for traders looking for leading social investing and copy trading services. With a low deposit, zero commissions and an intuitive platform, the broker will meet the needs of newer day traders."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Stocks, Options, ETFs, Crypto
- Regulator: SEC, FINRA
- Platforms: eToro Trading Platform & CopyTrader
- Min. Deposit: $10
- Min. Trade: $10
- The online broker offers an intuitive social investment network with straightforward copy trading on cryptos
- The $10 minimum deposit and straightforward account opening process means beginners can get started quickly
- A free demo account means new users and prospective day traders can try the broker risk-free
- There's a narrower range of day trading instruments available compared to competitors, with only stocks, ETFs and cryptos
- Average fees may cut into the profit margins of day traders
- The proprietary terminal doesn't support trading bots and there are no additional stock market analysis tools
#3 - DNA Markets
Why We Chose DNA Markets
DNA Markets is a forex and CFD broker established in 2020. The broker operates two entities in Australia and the offshore jurisdiction, St Vincent and the Grenadines. Traders can access 250+ markets, with a Standard account for beginners and a Raw account for experienced traders. The reliable MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are available, alongside Signal Start.
"DNA Markets is an excellent choice for short-term traders familiar with the MetaTrader platforms. The smooth sign-up process also makes it easy to get started while the $100 minimum deposit is accessible. That said, DNA Markets trails the top brokers in education, research and mobile trading. "- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Indices, Commodities, Stocks, Crypto
- Regulator: ASIC
- Platforms: MT4, MT5
- Min. Deposit: $100
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:500
- Short-term trading strategies are permitted including scalping and automated trading using Expert Advisors (EAs)
- Convenient account funding with 7 base currencies, a $100 deposit and a wide range of payment methods
- Top-rate platforms and charting tools for day traders with access to MT4 and MT5
- Although it continues to strengthen its client base and reputation DNA Markets lacks the track record of top brokers like Vantage
- There are limited educational and research tools, reducing its appeal to beginners
- Despite access to MT4 and MT5, there is no proprietary trading app
#4 - IG
Why We Chose IG
Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand-US offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.
"IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
- Regulator: FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA
- Platforms: Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)
- IG is amongst the best in terms of its range of instruments, which includes stocks, forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, providing ample diversification opportunities
- As a well-established broker, IG operates under strict regulatory guidelines in multiple jurisdictions, maintaining a high level of trust
- The IG app offers a superb mobile trading experience with a clean design that helped it secure Runner Up at our Best Trading App award
- IG applies an inactivity fee of $12 per month after 2 years, deterring casual investors
- Stock and CFD spreads still trail the cheapest brokers like CMC Markets based on tests
- IG has discontinued its swap-free account, reducing its appeal to Islamic traders
#5 - Pocket Option
Why We Chose Pocket Option
Established in 2017, Pocket Option is a binary options broker offering high/low contracts on forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies. With over 100,000 active users and a global reach, the platform continues to prove popular with budding traders.
"Pocket Option excels for its easy-to-use web platform which provides a best-in-class user experience for short-term binary traders. The $50 minimum deposit is also accessible for beginners while opening an account is really easy. Looking at the negatives, Pocket Option still trails alternatives in its market offering and regulatory credentials."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Binary Options, Currencies, Commodities, Stocks, Indices, Cryptos
- Regulator: MISA
- Platforms: Web, MT4, MT5
- Min. Deposit: $50
- Min. Trade: $1
- The web platform shines for its straightforward design and usability that will appeal to beginners looking to speculate on popular financial markets in a few clicks
- Well-funded traders who deposit $1000+ can qualify for a 2%+ payout boost, more tradable assets and exclusive perks
- Extremely fast and smooth sign-up process that takes less than 2 minutes
- Despite offering competitive payouts up to 92%, binary brokers like IQCent offer higher returns up to 98% based on tests
- The maximum binary contract length of 4 hours is restrictive for longer-term trading strategies. Alternatives like Videforex offer binaries up to 1 month
- The MISA is a weak regulator with limited investor protection for retail traders
Comparing S&P 500 Brokers
An online broker is an investor’s gateway to the market. Therefore, it is important that you choose S&P 500 brokers that suits your financial goals, risk appetite and investment style. The key factors to consider when comparing S&P 500 brokers include:
The best platform offered by S&P brokers is a matter of personal preference. But key elements to look for when investing in the S&P 500 are straightforward volume charts, market indicators (such as 50, 60 or 90-day moving average tickers), plus other technical analysis tools. Additionally, it is worth making sure you can access strong trend tracking and comprehensive price history, plus information on company economics.
Some S&P 500 brokers will facilitate trading on industry-established platforms such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5). Alternatively, investors may wish to use a platform that is independent of their brokerage when speculating on the S&P 500. Traders may prefer to use charts that they are already familiar with from TradingView, for example.
Retail investing can incur high fees, including commissions, deposit and withdrawal charges, plus transaction costs. If you’re trading in high volumes, these fees can reduce your overall yield, erode profits and impact your S&P margin. Some S&P 500 brokers will advertise a $0 fee package when trading the index, but bear in mind that there may be hidden charges that are applied later. For example, IG offers commission-free direct investing on the S&P 500, though overnight swap charges apply.
The best brokers that support S&P 500 trading provide a transparent fee structure and a published pricing schedule available on their website. Prospective investors should be able to research how much it will cost to trade the S&P 500 without needing to create an account with a given provider.
Investing in any asset class can be confusing, so you may rely on the support services of S&P 500 brokers. Reliable and responsive customer service is important here.
During market operating hours, most brokerages will offer comprehensive support, with the best brokers that offer S&P 500 trading providing 24/7 customer service via live chat, telephone, email and social media.
Leading S&P 500 brokers will offer additional features to enhance the user experience. When trading the S&P 500, using a historical data sheet can provide insights into past trends, prices, p/e ratio and dividend history. This data can typically be split out by year or by sector if traders want to research specific stocks rather than the entire S&P 500 index.
Some S&P 500 brokers may also offer trading calculators that can be used before entering a position, or when devising a new investment strategy. These include return or compound interest calculators which allow you to adjust variables, for example, based on whether you’re investing from the UK or not.
Other useful additional features include an economic calendar to keep track of important dates, historical and live price charts, an S&P bot to automate positions, or educational videos which investors can watch on the broker’s website. Live streams with the latest US corporation news can also provide valuable insights to support investment decisions.
When you’re risking your own capital, your funds need to be secure. Most reputable S&P 500 brokers will be regulated by leading financial bodies such as the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. You should always research whether your chosen brokerage is licensed to operate in your jurisdiction, and you can verify this by visiting the website of the financial watchdog.
The level of security offered by the brokers that support S&P 500 trading is also important. Standard security procedures include a safe key code, encrypted data processing and multiple authentication factors. Some S&P 500 brokers may require non-US residents to provide additional identification documents when trading the index to comply with legislation policies following the Patriot Act, 2001.
What Is The S&P 500?
The Standard and Poor’s 500, commonly known as the “S&P 500”, is the most traded stock market index in the United States. The S&P 500 tracks the performance of the 500 largest US companies which meet the S&P criteria for selection. Because the S&P 500 represents most of the largest businesses in the US, many traders use the index to speculate on the health of the US economy in general. The index is even seen as a definition of the overall global economy. As a result, there is ample choice of S&P 500 brokers to choose between.
The S&P 500 was initially introduced in 1957 to make it easier for investors to track the value of major companies trading on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ Composite. It was founded by Henry Poor and the Standard Statistics Company in 1941. Since its development, US companies included on the S&P stock list have changed dramatically as firms have risen and fallen.
Note, when day trading with S&P 500 brokers, share prices and are typically denominated in USD.
S&P 500 Criteria Explained
The list of companies included in the S&P 500 is measured by the weightings of market cap and free float. For companies to be eligible for inclusion in the index, they must meet the following criteria:
- Trading on the NYSE for longer than one year
- Market cap of at least $14.6 billion (as of 2022)
- Majority of company shares are available in the public domain
- A minimum of 250,000 company shares have been traded in the last six months
- Have positive earnings reports for the most recent year, including the publication of any S&P 500 eligible fourth quarter performance
Note that not every large company in the US is necessarily included in the S&P as they may not satisfy the inclusion criteria above. This includes companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Uber and Dell. Fortunately, the best S&P 500 brokers also offer investment opportunities on a range of equities not included on the index.
Five Biggest Stocks On The S&P 500
Over the last ten years, the companies the top of the S&P 500 have changed significantly as technological advances, governmental support and other factors have influenced business growth. On average, the five largest companies in the S&P 500 account for 20% of the entire index, with the top 10 representing almost a third of the market.
Given that the index accounts for circa 80% of the market value of the US stock market, trading these big five stocks can have a significant influence on the S&P 500, sector and market performance.
As of 2022, the biggest players include:
- Apple Inc (AAPL) – Index Weighting: 7.1%, Market Cap: $2,707 B
- Microsoft Corp (MSFT) – Index Weighting: 6.0%, Market Cap: $2,311.4 B
- Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) – Index Weighting: 3.7%, Market Cap: $1,426.6 B
- Tesla, Inc (TSLA) – Index Weighting: 2.4%, Market Cap: $902.1 B
- Alphabet Inc. Class A (GOOGL) – Index Weighting: 2.2%, Market Cap: $836.5 B
Head to the official index for the top 10 stocks by market cap, along with any new additions. Many of the top S&P brokers also offer detailed insights into leading stocks, along with key financial metrics.
The S&P 500 opening hours are aligned to the hours of the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq stock market. The opening hours are typically 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST (1:30 PM to 8:00 PM GMT), excluding market holidays.
Additionally, it is possible to engage in premarket trading and after-hours investing, depending on whether your chosen S&P 500 brokers offer it. Though, there is no overnight trading or weekend speculation on the S&P 500.
E-Mini S&P 500
An E-mini S&P 500 futures contract essentially states that if a trader buys a contract today, they are obligated to either buy or sell the asset at a pre-agreed share price on a set date in the future. Day trading E-mini S&P 500 futures is less popular because E-mini futures are more stable and less volatile. For traders investing on a longer timeframe, price stability might attract them to the E-mini.
Traders of the S&P index may also deploy a hedging strategy with the E-mini S&P 500 to hedge against any unexpected price predictions that might impact their current trades. Investors can also set signals for any key stock price movements to alert themselves to swings that may compromise their positions.
Note, that both the e-mini futures index and the traditional index opening hours are in line with the CME and the NYSE.
Regardless of whether you’re targeting annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily total returns, following a step-by-step approach will give you a good fundamental basis to start investing in the S&P 500. To get started:
Fund Your Account
Once you have selected your broker, you need to deposit funds into your account before you can begin to trade. S&P 500 brokers will offer different payment options. Instant processing and flexible limits should be top of your list. A low minimum deposit requirement should also be a key point to look out for, particularly if you are new to the index.
Recognized methods include VISA & Mastercard debit/credit cards, PayPal, and Skrill. Even cryptocurrency is being accepted as tender.
Do Your Research
Before you enter the market, it’s good practice to carry out in-depth analysis and market research on the S&P 500 and the stocks in question. Because it’s the most widely traded index in the US market, there is a significant amount of information available online. The best S&P 500 brokers will provide useful articles about the index on their websites, however third-party platforms can often provide better independent insights.
This is particularly true with the S&P 500 Futures Live Trading Group. This is a community of traders who train other investors and review S&P 500 ideas and strategies that have been shared by other members. Although new traders can join for free initially, it does cost to join and some of the reviews are mixed.
Investors looking for S&P 500 trading tips that are free of charge can use discussion forums such as Reddit or consult online articles and videos. Other popular sources include Bloomberg and Morningstar.
Choose Your Asset
Many traders may intend to trade the S&P 500 or the E-mini S&P 500, however there is also the option to trade some of the individual stocks included in the 500-strong list. It’s difficult to have a good understanding of all 500 stocks, as each will have its own market price driven by unique factors and fundamentals.
Despite this, all S&P stocks on the index share two common qualities: volume and volatility:
The meaning of volume is the number of shares being traded at a specific time. The S&P 500 trading volume is based on all of the shares of the stocks listed under the index. If the chart history of the S&P showed that the index had increased by a daily trade volume of 1,000 transactions since yesterday and decreased by 500 today, then the total volume over the two days would be 500. In this example, the average daily trading volume of the S&P 500 would be 250 (500/2 days).
Investors can use investing volumes to gauge whether other market participants’ interest is increasing or decreasing in the index, which could prompt a move from the trader. This volume trading logic applies to both the entire S&P index as well as individual stocks within the S&P.
Volatility is the risk that an asset’s share price can change unpredictably at any given time. The size of any given price movement is relatively unknown, which therefore increases the risk.
Large swings are considered to be highly volatile, whereas smaller swings in an asset’s price are considered to be of low volatility or stable. Typically, day traders thrive when a stock’s price experiences large swings because it means that they can capitalize on volatile price movements.
Choose Your Strategy
Once you have chosen between brokers that support trading on the S&P 500, and the asset you wish you trade, you need to implement a strategy.
There is a range of strategies available depending on your risk tolerance or how active you will be in the market. In all scenarios, being aware of the S&P pre-market price will give traders an insight into the opening value of the asset, which helps with the development of a day trading strategy.
For example, an unusually high close/pre-opening market price might prompt a trader to sell or short the index in anticipation of the price falling when the market opens. This strategy is an example of intraday trading on the S&P 500.
Other traders may analyze the index’s performance over a longer time, which would typically lend itself to a swing investing strategy.
Some market participants trade the S&P 500 and other assets as their full-time jobs, and will often share free advice online on developing a solid strategy. When you are seeking tips online, however, be wary of any paid groups or courses as these are usually “too good to be true” and can sometimes be scams designed to target rookie investors.
It is also worth checking whether S&P 500 brokers permit certain strategies and investing systems before you sign up. Some S&P 500 brokerages and platforms prohibit scalping, for example.
Final Word On S&P 500 Brokers
The S&P 500 has been traded for over 60 years and remains the leading index in the USA. It is popular with day traders because it gives a good indication as to how the US market is currently performing, which can provide insights into other asset classes.
It is worth noting that the S&P can be heavily influenced by how individual companies with large weighting are performing. For example, if Tesla’s share price falls due to an Elon Musk tweet, then the index might also be slightly affected by this as the market reacts.
Overall, the S&P 500 is a solid asset to have in your portfolio, and due to its popularity, there is a wide range of helpful resources available online. Use our list of the best brokers with access to the S&P 500 to get started today.
Do S&P 500 Brokers Offer Trading On The Index Via MetaTrader 4?
Yes, trading the S&P 500 is available on MT4 through supporting brokers. Some brokers that support trading on the S&P 500 also provide premarket/early investing and charts and tools to help identify key support levels today or over the last 10 years. Quarterly returns and historical data on dividend yields are also available at the top S&P 500 brokerages. See our list of the best brokers and trading apps for buying S&P 500 stocks.
What Is The Symbol For The S&P 500 At Online Brokers?
When trading the S&P 500 with brokers that offer the index, look out for the market ticker symbol INX.
When Do S&P 500 Brokers Start Futures Trading?
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) first introduced S&P 500 futures contracts in 1982, and subsequently released the S&P 500 E-mini option in 1997. Now, several top S&P 500 brokers offer futures products.
Can You Invest In S&P 500 With Most Leading Brokers?
Is The Nasdaq Or S&P 500 Better?
The S&P is a much broader representation of the US market as it includes stocks that are listed across different markets and sectors, whereas the Nasdaq is exclusively made up of Nasdaq-listed stocks, over 50% of which are technology focused. When choosing between trading S&P 500 and Nasdaq, the choice should be made based on the trader’s market knowledge and risk tolerance while taking into account the difference between the underlying structures. Importantly, most S&P 50o brokers also support online trading on the Nasdaq.
What Time Does The S&P 500 Stock Index Start Trading On Brokers’ Platforms?
The NYSE and the Nasdaq both open at 9:30 AM and close at 4:00 PM EST. The S&P and all of the stocks included in the index are also bound by these timings so this will reflect on your broker’s platform interface.