What Are the Major World Stock Market Indexes?
Stock market indexes measure the value of a section of a country’s stock market via a weighted average of selected stocks. These indexes help investors and analysts describe the market and compare different investments. Many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) attempt to track these indexes to provide investors with exposure to a given market. The three most common types of indexes are ‘global’ indexes, ‘regional’ indexes, and ‘national’ indexes.
In this article, we will look at global stock market indexes, regional stock market indexes, and national stock market indexes around the world, as well as some important considerations for investors looking to gain exposure using these indexes.
Global Stock Market Indexes
Global stock market indexes track equities from all around the world. For example, the MSCI World Index tracks large and mid-cap equities across 23 developed countries covering approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each country. It’s worth noting that global stock market indexes weighted by market capitalization don’t offer exposure to emerging markets or frontier markets since they’re too small for inclusion.
Along with the MSCI, the most popular global stock market indexes include:
Regional Stock Market Indexes
Regional stock market indexes track equities from specific regions around the world. For instance, these indexes may cover Asian, European, or Latin American equities. They help investors and analysts compare the performance of specific countries to a general region to highlight what assets are over- and under-performing. The funds tied to these indexes may also be helpful in building exposure to specific regions of the world.
The most popular regional stock market indexes include:
National Stock Market Indexes
National stock market indexes provide exposure to individual countries. In some cases, the equities in these indexes will consist entirely of large-cap stocks, similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the United States. In other cases, the equities may be considered small-cap since the country may not have many large companies. This is often the case in emerging market and frontier market economies.
The top 10 national stock market indexes include:
- SSE Composite Index
- SZSE Component Index
- CSI 300 Index
- Nikkei 225 Index
- Topic Index
- JPX-Nikkei 400 Index
- DAX 30 Index
- TecDAX Index
- MDAX Index
- FTSE 100 Index
- FTSE All-Share Index
- FTSE techMark Index
- CAC 40 Index
- CAC Next 20 Index
- CAC Mid 60 Index
- Bombay Stock Market Index
- National Stock Exchange of India Index
- MCX Stock Exchange Index
- FTSE MIB Index
- FTSE Italia Mid Cap Index
- MIBTel Index
- Bovespa Stock Index
- IBrX Stock Index
- ITEL Stock Index
- S&P TSX 60 Index
- S&P TSX Composite Index
- S&P TSX Venture Composite Index
- KOSPI Index
- KOSDAQ Index
Other Stock Market Indexes
There are many other types of specialized stock market indexes for certain demographics. For example, the S&P Islamic Index and Shariah indexes are geared toward investors adhering to Islamic laws, while other indexes cater towards goals like Environmental-Social-Government (or ESG) investments. Investors may want to consider these types of indexes, which may also provide exposure to global stocks with certain restraints.
Some popular alternative stock market indexes include:
- S&P Global BMI Shariah Index
- Stoxx Global ESG Leaders Index
Invest in Stock Market Indexes
Investors can build exposure to these stock market indexes into their portfolios using mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that track the underlying index. For example, the iShares MSCI World ETF (URTH) tracks the popular MSCI World Index and provides exposure to global stock markets.
When evaluating mutual funds and ETFs, investors should consider a variety of different factors, including the fund's expense ratio, diversification, and other factors.
The Bottom Line
Global stock market indexes help investors and analysts describe the market and compare different investments. There are three types of stock market indexes, including global stock market indexes, regional stock market indexes, and national stock market indexes. Investors can leverage these indexes to gain exposure to international stock markets using mutual funds or exchange-traded funds tied to these indexes.