For lots of investors, Standard & Poor's is the gold standard of credit reporting, albeit slightly tarnished by the credit crisis of 2008. Standard & Poor's (commonly known as S&P) is a business segment of publishing house McGraw-Hill. With operations in about two dozen countries, the company provides the investment community with independent credit ratings on such financial vehicles as stocks, mutual funds, corporate bonds, and municipal bonds. In addition to its credit ratings, risk management, investment research, data, and valuations, Standard & Poor's is known for its indexes, including the S&P 500 index. The company's roots reach back to 1860; S&P was acquired by McGraw-Hill just over a century later.