Focus on technology and innovation
The popularity of the Nasdaq was initially due to its focus on technology for the real-time exchange of shares of listed companies and stock market information. In the following years, and especially after the internet revolution, this focus on innovation proved to be extremely beneficial, as it allowed the Nasdaq to attract most companies in the information technology (IT) sector, making it the leading stock exchange for tech companies and the preferred destination for foreign companies looking to go public in the United States. Despite the large volume of companies listed on the Nasdaq, a handful of these account for the majority of the total market capitalization of the exchange. In fact, some of the largest companies worldwide in terms of market capitalization are listed on the Nasdaq: The most valuable are notably Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon.
Due to the great amount of companies listed on the stock market, tracking the performance of these companies would be a huge challenge. For this reason, among others, a large number of stock market indices have been developed over the years. The main stock market indices usually include companies listed on different stock exchanges, like the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. On the other hand, many indices focus on a single exchange. The Nasdaq Stock Market counts several indices, caregorizing companies either by sector, size, or domicile. Among the main Nasdaq indices, the Nasdaq Composite, which tracks nearly all stocks traded on the exchange, is one of the most followed in the United States. Another important index to follow the development of the Nasdaq is the Nasdaq 100 Index, which includes the largest domestic and international non-financial companies listed on the exchange.