Equity Indices

Advantages of Equity Indices Trading with XM

Cost-effective and direct access to the global equity markets
Instant access to global economies
Speculation on market uptrends/downtrends
Going short/long according to market moves
Suits both short and long-term trading strategies
NO extra fees apply

Equity Indices – Spreads / Conditions

Cash Indices CFDs

About Equity Indices Trading

Equity indices, or stock indices as they are also commonly known, are actual stock market indexes, which measure the value of a specific section of a stock market. They are calculated based on a weighted average of the prices of selected stocks, which belong to the actual category that they represent. Stock indices can represent a specific stock market such as NASDAQ, or they can represent a specific set of the largest companies of a nation such as the American S&P 500, the British FTSE 100, or the Japanese Nikkei 225.

The purpose of the indices is to show the general direction of a specific stock market or of the general economy of a nation. However, since stock indices are composed of a basket of companies they can be very much affected by a big move of a specific company or by a big move of a specific sector of trade.

The actual weight given to a stock index from the underlying basket of stocks varies amongst the various indices, which means that not all use the same criteria to derive the end result. The two main ways to calculate the actual weight a specific underlying stock produces to the index itself is price weighting and capitalization weighting.

Below you can see the category which some of the very popular indices belong to:

1. Dow Jones (US30) and Nikkei 225 (Japan225) are price weighted indices.
2. FTSE 100 (UK 100), ASX200 (Australia 200), Hang Seng Index (Hong Kong 50, DAX (Germany 30), CAC 40 (France 40) and IBEX35 (Spain 35) are some of the main stock indices which are capitalization weighted.

Equity Indices – Who is Who?

S&P 500 (US500): The S&P500 (US500) stock market index was introduced by the American financial services company Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC in 1957. It is a leading indicator of US equities, and as one of the most frequently used benchmarks for the US stock market on the whole, it covers about 75% of the American equity market by capitalization.ASX200 (Australia200): The ASX 200 (AUS200) index is a market-capitalization weighted stock market index of stocks listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, which belongs to the world’s top 15 exchange groups with an average daily turnover of $4.685 billion. The index exclusively includes stocks listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Nikkei 225 (JP225): The Nikkei 225 (JP225), commonly known as Nikkei, is a stock index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the world’s third largest stock exchange with a market capitalization of US$4.09 trillion.

HSI (HK50): The HIS (HK50), Hang Seng Index, is a market capitalization-weighted stock market index that has been used since 1969 to record the daily changes of the 50 largest companies present at Asia’s second (and the world’s sixth) largest stock exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Market (HKEx).

FTSE 100 (UK100): The FTSE 100 (UK100) stock index stands for Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, encompassing the 100 companies with the highest market capitalization listed on the London Stock Exchange.

NASDAQ 100 (US100): The main NASDAQ index is the NASDAQ Composite, with its subset NASDAQ 100 (US100) that consists of 107 equity securities issued by the 107 most powerful non-financial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

DJIA (US30): DJIA (US30), the second oldest stock market index in the United States after the Dow Jones Transportation Average, shows the performance of 30 major American companies during a standard trading session in the stock market. It is calculated by the DJIA Divisor by dividing the total sum of all prices of all 30 stocks that it represents.

DAX (GER30): DAX (GER30), which stands for Deutscher Aktienindex, is the principal German stock market index representative of the 30 major companies that trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It is considered to be a blue chip index in terms of quality and profitability.

CAC 40 (FRA40): The French benchmark stock market index CAC 40 (FRA40) stands for Cotation Assistée en Continu, and it represents the top 40 values of the 100 highest market-capitalization company stocks traded on the French securities market Euronext Paris, the second largest exchange in Europe.

What are Equity Indices (Stock Indices)?
Equity indices, or stock indices, are in simple language indexes that represent the overall price of a basket of underlying stocks.
The major equity indices (stock indices of the world) include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. S&P 500
2. Dow Jones
3. Nasdaq
4. FTSE100
5. Nikkei225
6. DAX
7. CAC40
8. Euro Stoxx 50
9. ASX200
Stock indices are in most cases a representation of the overall picture of the stock market, which their basket belongs to. In most cases, the underlying stocks that belong to a stock index consist of the most influential (largest capitalization) companies.
How Does Equity Indices Trading Work?
During any trading day, stock prices of specific companies will go up or down. Since a stock index is a compilation of a basket of underlying stocks, its actual price will move up or down based on the overall dynamics (mathematical and statistical formula) of which each stock price contributes to its final price.
The following are useful points to understand when trading equity indices:
1. All the stocks in a specific equity index (e.g. Dow Jones) are subject to a selection process and might be substituted by another company if their overall trading performance is overcome from a newcomer. In other words, the companies that belong to a basket are not guaranteed to be always the same.
2. The determination of the influence of a specific stock to the overall stock index includes calculations and rules. Not all stocks that add up to the basket are treated as equal. In simple words, the overall price of stock index is not a simple addition of the prices of the stocks and a division by the number of stocks.
3. A stock index shows the general consensus and can be considered a benchmark of performance of the overall stock market with historical value.
4. As mentioned in point 2, since not all stocks that belong to the basket are treated as equal, more weight is given to the index from companies with larger capitalization. This means that if the stock of a specific large company falls for any reason, the overall index will follow it even though the rest of the stocks in the basket might not be falling.
5. As mentioned in point 1, the underlying stocks that belong to the basket, which is called an index, change over time. Over a historical period, the index itself does not always represent the same basket of stocks.

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