Standard & Poor's (S&P) is a United States-based financial-services company. It is a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds. It is well known for its stock-market indices, the US-based S&P 500, the Australian S&P/ASX 200, the Canadian S&P/TSX, the Italian S&P/MIB and India's S&P CNX Nifty. The company is one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also includes Moody's Investor Service and Fitch Ratings.
The company traces its history back to 1860, with the publication by Henry Varnum Poor of History of Railroads and Canals in the United States. This book was an attempt to compile comprehensive information about the financial and operational state of U.S. railroad companies. Henry Varnum went on to establish H.V. and H.W. Poor Co. with his son, Henry William, and published annually updated versions of this book.
In 1906, Luther Lee Blake founded the Standard Statistics Bureau, with the view to providing financial information on non-railroad companies. Instead of an annually published book, Standard Statistics would use 5" x 7" cards, allowing for more frequent updates.
In 1941, Poor and Standard Statistics merged to become Standard & Poor's Corp. In 1966, the company was acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies, and now encompasses the Financial Services division.
In November 2009, ten months after launching an investigation, the European Commission (EC) formally charged S&P with abusing its position as the sole provider of international securities identification codes for U.S. securities by requiring European financial firms and data vendors to pay licensing fees for their use. "This behavior amounts to unfair pricing," the EC said in its statement of objections which lays the groundwork for an adverse finding against S&P. "The (numbers) are indispensable for a number of operations that financial institutions carry out – for instance, reporting to authorities or clearing and settlement – and cannot be substituted.”
S&P has run the CUSIP Service Bureau, the only ISIN issuer in the US, on behalf of the American Bankers Association. In its formal statement of objections, the European Commission alleges "that S&P is abusing this monopoly position by enforcing the payment of licence fees for the use of US ISINs by (a) banks and other financial services providers in the EEA and (b) information service providers in the EEA." It claims that comparable agencies elsewhere in the world either do not charge fees at all, or do so on the basis of distribution cost, rather than usage.
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., (NYSE: MHP) is a publicly traded corporation headquartered in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Its primary areas of business are education, publishing, broadcasting, and financial and business services. It publishes numerous textbooks and magazines, including Architectural Record and Aviation Week, and is the parent company of Standard & Poor's, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. It is the majority owner of the Canadian publisher McGraw-Hill Ryerson (TSX). The company has its corporate headquarters in 1221 Avenue of the Americas, Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
The McGraw-Hill Companies traces its history back to 1888 when James H. McGraw, co-founder of the company, purchased the American Journal of Railway Appliances. He continued to add further publications, eventually establishing The McGraw Publishing Company in 1899. His co-founder, John A. Hill, had also produced several technical and trade publications and in 1902 formed his own business, The Hill Publishing Company.
In 1909 both men, having known each other for some time and sharing the same interests, agreed upon an alliance and combined the book departments of their publishing companies into The McGraw-Hill Book Company. John Hill served as President, with James McGraw as Vice-President. 1917 saw the merger of the remaining parts of each business into The McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc. In 1986, McGraw-Hill bought out competitor The Economy Company, then the nation's largest publisher of educational material. The buyout made McGraw-Hill the largest educational publisher in the U.S.
McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc became The McGraw-Hill Companies in 1995, as part of a corporate identity rebranding.
In a recent strategy move (2007), McGraw-Hill launched an online student study network, GradeGuru.com. This new offering gives McGraw-Hill an opportunity to connect directly with its end users, the students.
In finance, short selling (also known as shorting or going short) is the practice of selling assets, usually securities, that have been borrowed from a third party (usually a broker) with the intention of buying identical assets back at a later date to return to the lender. It is a form of reverse trading, as it is selling high, then buying low at a later date. Mathematically, it is equivalent to buying a "negative" amount of the assets. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the price of the assets between the sale and the repurchase, as the seller will pay less to buy the assets than the seller received on selling them. Conversely, the short seller will incur a loss if the price of the assets rises. Other costs of shorting may include a fee for borrowing the assets and payment of any dividends paid on the borrowed assets. "Shorting" and "going short" also refer to entering into any derivative or other contract under which the investor profits from a fall in the value of an asset.