Home to some of the top blue-chip firms, with a promising outlook in the post Covid-19 environment, the US stock market is the largest platform for several global giants to raise capital. And, for individual investors, there are a plethora of opportunities to gain from the vibrant US stocks and its economy. From small-caps to large-cap stocks and from home-grown companies in the US to companies based out of Japan and China, among other countries, the US stock market is buzzing with international money exchanging hands.
For investors to participate in the growth of some of the top companies such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, Intel, the US market has several stock market indexes in place. For starters, keeping an eye on and tracking the leading 5 US indexes for cashing on the opportunities is important. Here are top five US indexes to be glued to if you want to track the US markets.
1. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) or the Dow 30 is one of the go-to indexes. The index consists of top 30 blue-chip companies but unlike some of the leading indices, Dow 30 represents companies that are only based in the US.
Dow 30 index is part of the S&P Dow Jones Indices and has a diversified exposure to various sectors of the economy except for transportation and utilities. The Dow Jones Transportation Average index and the Dow Jones Utility Average index cover them and all three of them make up the Dow Jones Composite Average index.
Some of the prominent companies in the 30-stocks index are Boeing, Nike, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, Intel, 3M, UnitedHealth Group, Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Microsoft etc. The current market cap of Dow 30 is nearly $7750 billion with Microsoft and Apple occupying the top two positions.
- As on June 3, 2020, the Dow was at 26,269.89
- And, 52-weeks range: 18,213.65 and 29,568.57
2. Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX)
The Nasdaq-100 since its inception in 1985 is a large-cap growth index and includes 100 of the largest domestic and international non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market based on market capitalization. Some of the world’s most innovative companies like including Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, Intel, and Tesla are listed on Nasdaq-100.
With more than 7,000 products linked to this index, the Nasdaq-100 provides investors access to some of the world’s leading companies and across investment products such as ETFs, Annuities, Options and Futures.
As far as the performance goes, with a heavy allocation towards top-performing industries such as Technology, Consumer Services, and Health Care, Nasdaq-100 (NDX) has outperformed the S&P 500 (SPX) in ten of the past twelve years.
- As on June 3, 2020, the Nasdaq-100 was at 9,704.69
- And, 52-weeks range: 6,771.91 and 9,736.57
3. Nasdaq Composite Index
The Nasdaq Composite Index or Nasdaq covers more than 2,500 stocks, more than most other stock market indexes. Because it is so broad-based, the Composite, since its inception in 1971, is one of the most widely followed and quoted major market indexes.
The securities that can be traded on Nasdaq index include common stocks, ordinary shares, ADRs, shares of beneficial interest or limited partnership interests and tracking stocks.
Some of the stocks that are listed on Nasdaq include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet etc. There are about 390 technology firms occupying about 49.67 pr cent of the index, while the Consumer Services with 292 companies has a weight of about 19.56 per cent in the index.
- As on June 3, 2020, the Nasdaq was at 9,682.91
- And, 52-weeks range: 6,631.42 and 9,838.37
4. S&P 500 index
S&P 500 is one of the many S&P Dow Jones Indices and is considered to be the top-most single indicator of large-cap US stocks. S&P 500 Index, the first US market-cap-weighted stock market index, was created way back in 1957 and remains one of the oldest indexes with over a 70-year live track record.
S&P 500 Index includes nearly 500 leading corporates across about 11 sectors and covers about 80 per cent of the market capitalisation of US stock exchanges.
The top three sectors in the S&P 500 are Information Technology, Health Care and Communication Services, totalling about 50 per cent of the index.
The top three stocks are Microsoft, Apple and Amazon by index weightage.
- As on June 3, 2020, the S&P 500 was at 3,122.87
- And, 52-weeks range: 2,191.86 and 3,393.52
5. RUSSEL 2000 index
If you are looking to make some big bucks from the gains in the small-cap companies, the Russell 2000 Index is for you. It is an indicator of the performance of the small-cap segment of the US stock market universe.
Based on a combination of their market cap and current index membership, the Russell 2000 Index has nearly 2000 of the smallest companies listed on the platform.
The Russell 2000 Index is actually a subset of the Russell 3000 Index and represents nearly 10 per cent of the total market capitalization of that index.
The Russell 2000 is reconstituted annually to ensure larger stocks do not distort the performance and characteristics of the true small-cap nature of the index.
- As on June 3, 2020, the Russell 2000 was at 1,452.09
- And, 52-weeks range: 966.22 and 1,715.08