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How to invest in the S&P 500 in Ireland

Find out the quickest and easiest ways to invest in S&P 500 index from Ireland.

The S&P is an index of the 500 largest listed companies in the US. It’s home to some recognisable brands, including many technology stocks, such as Twitter and Netflix.

The largest 10 stocks in the index make up 21% of it, and the top 4 are all technology stocks: Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet. We’ve detailed how you can invest in the S&P 500 from Ireland, the most popular S&P 500 index and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and what else you need to consider.

What is the S&P 500?

The Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is a stock market index of the 500 largest listed companies in the United States, measured by market capitalisation. Its name comes from the company created when Poor’s Publishing and the Standard Statistics Company merged. It created an index compiled of 90 companies, later expanding to 500.

Can I invest in the S&P 500 from Ireland?

Yes, there are a number of ways you can invest in the S&P 500 from Ireland. The S&P 500 is a stock market index that tracks the performance of 500 leading US companies that are listed on the stock exchange. This means you can’t directly invest in the S&P 500, but can buy stocks in the companies that make up the S&P 500 or buy an index fund, such as a mutual or exchange-traded fund that tracks the overall performance of the S&P 500 index.

How to invest in the S&P 500

  1. Find an S&P 500 ETF, index fund or mutual fund. Some index funds track the performance of all 500 S&P stocks, whereas others only track a certain number of stocks or are weighted more towards specific stocks. You should select the fund that best suits your investment goals.
  2. Open a share-trading account. In order to invest in an S&P 500 fund, you’ll need to open a trading account with a broker or platform. Keep in mind that some index funds may only be available on certain brokerages or platforms. The providers in our comparison table let you invest in US shares. We’ve listed some index funds that are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange (or ISE, trading as Euronext Dublin).
  3. Deposit funds. You’ll need to deposit funds into your account to begin trading. Some brokers may charge you deposit fees, or you may need to pay a forex fee in order for your euros to be converted into US dollars.
  4. Buy the index fund. Once your money has been deposited, you can then buy the S&P 500 index fund. You’ll generally pay a small annual fee to invest in an ETF or index fund.

What S&P 500 index funds can I buy in Ireland?

There are some S&P 500 index funds listed on the ISE that you can invest in from Ireland, and you’ll have access to even more if you have an account with a trading platform or broker that offers direct access to the US stock market.

Some popular S&P 500 index funds in Ireland include:

  • iShares Core S&P 500 ETF
  • Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
  • SDPR S&P 500 ETF

What is Ireland’s equivalent of the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies on US stock exchanges and is the most popular US stock index. The equivalent of the S&P 500 in Ireland is the ISEQ (Ireland Stock Exchange Overall Index), which similarly tracks the performance of companies on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Like the S&P 500, ISEQ is also used as a general yardstick to measure the relative health and performance of the Irish stock market and the wider economy.

How to invest in S&P 500 stocks

If you don’t want to invest in an S&P 500 index fund then you can buy individual S&P 500 stocks.

  1. Find a stockbroker. You’ll need one that lets you invest in US stocks – the providers in this comparison table let you buy US shares.
  2. Sign up and fund your account. You’ll need to provide some personal details and information about how you’ll fund your account.
  3. Find a stock you want to invest in. Research some of the shares you’re interested in and find them on your chosen platform. We’ve listed some of the largest stocks on the index below.
  4. Choose how much you want to invest or how many shares you want. The platform should tell you how much this will cost you.
  5. Hit buy. It’s as easy as that!

If you choose to invest in all 500 stocks, you’ll find that it’s a very expensive method of investing as you may need to pay trading fees on every single stock you purchase. Some of the stocks in the S&P 500 are also valued at hundreds of dollars, so you’d need to invest thousands of euros in order to get exposure to all companies in the index.

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio by investing in the companies in the S&P 500, it’s likely going to be a lot cheaper and more efficient to invest with the second option. An index fund tracks the performance of the S&P 500.

What stocks are in the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 comprises 500 of the largest US companies by market capitalisation, which means it includes some of the most recognisable and popular stocks in the world. These include the following:

Why should I invest in the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 features some of the largest and most successful companies in the world and has historically given investors a decent return on their investment.

If you only invest in stocks available on the Irish Stock Exchange (Euronext Dublin), you’ll be limited in the number of stocks you can buy. Investing in an S&P 500 index fund or opening a trading account that gives you access to the US stock market will let you diversify your portfolio and open up the potential gains offered by US stocks.

How much does it cost to invest in the S&P 500?

There are a couple of fees to keep in mind if you plan to invest in US stocks – the commission fee, which is the cost of carrying out the trade, and the foreign exchange fee, which is the cost of changing your euros over to US dollars. Here are some of the costs of buying US stocks with some of the main providers:

PlatformFee for a US tradeForeign exchange fee
Degiro€2 + €0.50 handling fee0.25%
eToro£050 Pips (percentage in point)
Trading 212€00.15%

The most expensive part of buying US stocks is the foreign exchange fees. Compare the fees for the providers that have the lowest foreign exchange fee, even if there’s no commission, to work out whether it might work out cheaper to go with another provider.

How did the S&P 500 perform in 2021?

Like most stock indices, the S&P 500 saw significant volatility in early 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. However, those who held or bought during the crash saw their investments rise over the next few months, and the S&P 500 reached record highs towards the end of 2021.

Historically, the S&P 500 has had an average annual compounded return of 7.5%. Since 2009, the index has been profitable every year apart from 2018, and in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, it grew by 16.11%. With the pandemic still ongoing in 2022, it remains to be seen how the S&P500 will fare in 2022. While the S&P 500 started 1st January 2022 on a high, it started February 2022 5.3% down, its worst January since 2009.

Pros and cons of investing in the S&P 500

Pros

  • Access some of the largest US stocks
  • Stocks on the S&P 500 tend to be well known and perform pretty well
  • You can invest with index funds

Cons

  • Not completely diversified — you should invest in worldwide stocks to diversify your portfolio a bit more
  • Foreign exchange fees

Bottom line

Home to Disney, Netflix, Twitter and Tesla, the S&P 500 is made up of some of the largest technology companies. It’s understandable why investors want to get a look in! Take some time to consider how you want to invest – are there specific S&P 500 companies that you want to invest in, or are you looking to diversify with an S&P 500 index fund or ETF?

Make sure you consider the costs of investing in US stocks, as there will be a foreign exchange or currency exchange fee on top of any commission.

Compare S&P 500 trading platforms

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Brokerage Fee Markets What you can trade?
eToro
IE stocks: No

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies, CFDs, Indices, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Trade more than 1,000 stocks globally with eToro's social trading and investment platform
DEGIRO
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss.
Degiro lets you invest in a variety of financial instruments in different markets around the world.
Until 30 June 2022, pay no transaction fees up to €100 when you make your first transfers as a new Degiro customer. T&Cs apply.
Saxo Markets
IE stocks: €12

US stocks: US$7
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds, Currencies, CFDs, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Saxo Markets provides an online platform for trading stocks, shares, CFDs, and forex around the world
Zacks Trade
IE stocks: No

US stocks: US$1
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
The Zachs Trade platform offers stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and more with access to more than 90 exchanges worldwide
Freedom Finance
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: US$2
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
Capital.com
IE stocks: No

US stocks: €0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Access thousands of the world's leading indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies and shares on a single platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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