SPY, 24 Years Later

What started as an experiment has proved to be an unequivocal success. Twenty-four years ago today, SPY was listed on the American Stock Exchange. Today, there are more than 6,000 ETFs/ETNs, which give investors the ability to trade baskets of stocks all day, unlike traditional mutual funds. ETFs now hold $3 trillion in assets, with SPY at the top of the heap, at $220 billion. For just .0945%, you can access the S&P 500. The chart below shows how closely it has tracked the index.


Below is a quick review of the notable statistics of this revolutionary product.


Total dollar amount of SPY traded since inception: $68,958,292,273,656

Total number of shares traded: 511,383,761,745

Biggest volume day ever: 10/10/2008: 871,546,886 (The six biggest volume days occurred between September and November 2008)

October 2008 was the heaviest volume month: 11,889,533,913


It closed its first trading day at $28.13. On Friday, it closed at $226.74.

Including dividends, it’s up 705.91% since it began trading.


On January 31, it will make a distribution of $1.33, up 523% from the first dividend payment of $0.21.

It currently yields ~2%, but last year it paid $4.42, a 15.7% return on your original investment.

It has paid a cumulative $53.60 per share, a 90% payout of the original purchase price.


For a good story on the origins of the ETF, check out this article from the Financial Times.

For more on Nathan Most, here is his New York Times obituary