Market Indices

DEFINITION A stock market index is a method of measuring a section of the stock market. Many indices are cited by news or financial services firms and are used as benchmarks, to measure the performance of portfolios such as mutual funds. Alternatively, an index may also be considered as an instrument (after all it can be traded) which derives its value from other instruments or indices. The index may be weighted to reflect the market capitalization of its components, or may be a simple index which merely represents the net change in the prices of the underlying instruments.
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Stock market indices may be classed in many ways. A 'world' or 'global' stock market index includes (typically large) companies without regard for where they are domiciled or traded. Two examples are MSCI World and S&P Global 100. A 'national' index represents the performance of the stock market of a given nation—and by proxy, reflects investor sentiment on the state of its economy. The most regularly quoted market indices are national indices composed of the stocks of large companies listed on a nation's largest stock exchanges, such as the Indian SENSEX and the British FTSE 100.

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