Stock market indices - Statistics & Facts

Most countries all over the world have a stock exchange where both local and international companies are traded. A stock exchange facilitates the trading process and allows the prices of the listed companies to be defined by the laws of supply and demand. The number of traded companies usually ranges between a couple of hundred in less developed financial markets to as many as a couple of thousand in the mature markets. It would be a very time-consuming task to examine the performance of the leading companies in a given country in order to assess the stock market sentiment, not to mention to track the market performance on various global stock exchanges. That is why the stock indices prove to be so useful.

A stock market index measures the performance of a segment of the stock market. It is calculated based on the prices (and often market capitalization) of the companies which belong to the index.

Global indices are a benchmark of the international stocks performance. MSCI World, for example, consists of leading companies from developed countries all over the world.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index (DJIA) is one of the oldest and most well known indices worldwide. In the beginning the index was composed of industrial stocks (hence the name), but today its constituents are thirty leading U.S. companies from various industry sectors.

In Europe, the most popular country indices are FTSE 100 (UK), CAC 40 (France) and DAX 30 (Germany). Also, the Euro Stoxx 50 index, composed of the Eurozone blue chips, is traced by global market participants.

In Asia, the main indices are, among others, Nikkei 225 (Japan) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite index (China).

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Stock market indices - Important statistics

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