• Wilshire 5000 Index -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Overview The Wilshire 5000 is considered the "total market index." Designed to track the value of the entire stock market, the index was started in 1974 by Wilshire Associates soon after computers made the daily computation of such a large index possible. Though it is the nation's broadest-based index, and probably the most accurate reflection of the overall market, it is not frequently cited in the financial press as a gauge for the market’s return. The reason for this is that it is often considered "too broad" a definition of the market. Most practitioners prefer to use the S&P 500 as a proxy for the overall market, especially since it encompasses 70% of its market value. The remaining 30% of the market, which consists primarily of small-cap stocks, is generally considered to be represented by the Russell 2000 Index. Composition The Wilshire 5000 is comprised of virtually every stock that meets three criteria: 1) The firm’s headquarters are based in the U.S. 2) The stock is actively traded on a U.S. exchange. 3) The stock has widely available pricing information (this disqualifies bulletin board, or over-the-counter, stocks). Though the index started with--as the name implies--5,000 firms, it actually contains around 6,700 today. The index is market cap weighted, meaning that the firms with the highest market value account for a larger portion of the index.

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