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Top 9 Most Important Stock Market Indices in Spain

Last updated on 26 de March de 2023

It is very important for passive investors to be familiar with the different indices available. In this post we analyze the most important stock market indices for Spain.



The IBEX 35 is the most famous stock market index in Spain. Often referred to in Spain as “the selective”, this index is composed of the 35 most liquid companies listed on the 4 main stock exchanges in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia.

Owned by Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME), a company that was recently acquired by the Swiss group SIX, the IBEX 35 was introduced in 1989 when the stocks still traded in pesetas.

Companies in the index are weighted based on their free float market capitalization. This means that larger companies have a greater weight. However, those shares in the hands of insiders are not considered. An insider would be a founder or shareholder with a controlling stake, for example, Amancio Ortega in the case of Inditex.

The companies with the greatest weight in the IBEX 35 are Inditex, Iberdrola and Banco Santander. In fact, one of the criticisms that the index has often received is its overexposure to the banking sector. However, due to the falling prices in bank shares since 2008, their weight has become a lot smaller.

For those who wish to find additional information about the IBEX 35, here is the link to the official website of Bolsas y Mercados Españoles.

IBEX Medium Cap

The IBEX Medium Cap is the second-tier index of the Spanish stock market. Also published by BME, it includes the following 20 most important companies listed in Spain.

Its objective is to represent Spanish mid-cap companies. Some of these companies are candidates to be part of the IBEX 35 in the future, and some others were once part of the IBEX 35.

Some of the most famous companies on the IBEX Medium Cap are Fluidra, Sacyr and Ebro Foods. For many investors, one of the advantages of the IBEX Medium Cap index is its almost zero exposure to the banking sector.

The IBEX Medium Cap is relatively new, having been introduced in 2005. You will find more details about it in the official link.

IBEX Small Cap

Also introduced in 2005, the IBEX Small Cap is the third-tier index of the Spanish stock market. It aims to represent the behavior of small-cap stocks.

It is composed of the 30 most liquid companies after the 35 of the IBEX 35 and the 20 of the IBEX Medium Cap. Some of the companies in this index are family businesses that have decided to take part of the business public.

 However, we also find companies that had been part of the IBEX 35 in the past but, due to their declining share price, have been relegated to the “third division”. Some examples would be Prisa, DIA and Atresmedia.

For those who wish to know more about the small cap segment in Spain, here is the link to the official website.

IGBM – General Index of the Madrid Stock Exchange

The General Index of the Madrid Stock Exchange is an index composed of all the shares listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange.

The number of companies within the index varies over time, although it is usually greater than 100. And we can find corporations of all sizes in it.

Because companies are weighted based on their market capitalization, the largest ones really move the index, so the correlation with the IBEX 35 is very high.

You can find all the details in this link.

ITBM – Madrid Stock Exchange Total Index (with dividends)

The ITBM is basically the same index as the IGBM when it comes to constituent companies, but with a small difference: the ITBM is a total return index whose historical performance includes dividends paid in the past.

Thus, when a company pays dividends and its share price falls, the value of the IGBM index also falls. However, the value of the ITBM is not affected.

The ITBM is intended to reflect the total return that an investor would have had, and not just the current price level at which companies are trading.

MSCI Spain

The MSCI Spain is a stock market index calculated by the US company MSCI, owner of the famous MSCI World Index.

Its MSCI Spain index is made up of the Spanish companies that are part of the MSCI World Index. The number of stocks within the MSCI Spain fluctuates depending on how many companies meet the requirements to enter the global index.

Over the last few years, the number of companies in the MSCI Spain has been around 20. These are 20 of the largest companies in the country. For this reason, we can say that it is an even more concentrated index than the IBEX 35, since it has fewer companies.

One of the advantages of the MSCI Spain is that, thanks to its concentration in large-cap stocks, it might be less exposed to companies that can be affected by scandals of any kind, such as Abengoa or DIA.

The other great advantage is that, if we want to invest passively in Spain, it will be very easy for us to find an ETF that tracks the MSCI Spain. Additional details can be found here.

FTSE Spain All Cap Index

Another of the main stock market indices for Spain is the FTSE Spain All Cap Index. This index is calculated by the company FTSE Russell, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange.

It is composed of all Spanish companies that are also part of the FTSE Global All Cap Index, a global index for developed countries. The number of stocks in it also varies over time.

There is an important difference between the FTSE Spain All Cap Index and the MSCI Spain. While the MSCI Spain only contains about 20 companies, the FTSE Spain All Cap Index includes about 60. This makes it a much more diversified index, since we can also find many mid-cap companies.

If we look at the companies within the FTSE Spain All Cap, we will see that they are practically the same as those that are part of the IBEX 35 and the IBEX Medium Cap.

FTSE Latibex

The FTSE Latibex is a stock market index for Latin American companies listed on the four most important stock exchanges in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia).

Thus, its composition is totally different from that of the indices we have analyzed so far.

The FTSE Latibex allows us, therefore, to invest in those corporations that have decided to list some of their shares in Spain in order to raise capital. As a result, we can find some of the most important companies in Latin America.

Interestingly, the FTSE Latibex is composed exclusively of Mexican, Argentinian, Brazilian and Peruvian companies. Its exposure to the mining sector is very significant.

The FTSE Latibex is jointly owned by FTSE Russell and Bolsas y Mercados Españoles.


Finally, although it is not an index in which we can invest directly, the VIBEX is highly interesting. It can be very useful to analyze the state of the Spanish stock market.

The VIBEX, which we could also call Volatility IBEX, is an index that indicates the implied volatility in options on the IBEX 35.

This volatility is calculated from at-the-money options that will expire within 30 days. The topic of options can be complicated, but what is important to know is that the higher the implied volatility, the larger price movements are expected.

And because large price movements are more prevalent on the way down than on the way up, the VIBEX serves as an indicator to assess the level of fear of investors in Spain. Therefore, the higher the VIBEX, the greater the likelihood of large drops in the next 30 days.

The most famous volatility index in the world is the VIX, which measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500 index in the United States. It is famously known as the “fear index”.

Consequently, we could call the VIBEX the “fear index in Spain”.

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And if you want to read about stock market indices in another European country, check out this link:
Top 4 Stock Market Indices in Italy

Published in Funds and ETF

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