HomeKnowledge BaseNNasdaq 100 Index: What Is It, How It's Weighted and Traded?

Nasdaq 100 Index: What Is It, How It's Weighted and Traded?

Welcome to our guide on the Nasdaq 100 Index. The Nasdaq 100 Index is a significant benchmark in the realm of finance. In this informative piece, we shall explore the significance, composition, and trading dynamics of this renowned market indicator, granting you valuable insights into its workings.

What does the Nasdaq 100 Index Mean?

The Nasdaq 100 Index, often referred to as the NDX, is a market index composed of the 100 largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock market. It serves as a representation of the performance of these prominent technology and growth-oriented firms.

Explaining the Nasdaq 100 Index

The Nasdaq stock market is renowned for its emphasis on technology and innovation. This focus is exemplified by the Nasdaq 100 Index, which was established in 1985. This index tracks the performance of companies across various sectors, including technology, telecommunications, retail, healthcare, and more.

The Nasdaq 100 Index differs from traditional market indexes like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average, as it includes only non-financial companies. This exclusivity highlights the dominance of the technology sector within the Nasdaq stock market.

To calculate the Nasdaq 100 Index, the market capitalisation of each included company is weighted according to its relative size. This means that larger companies have a more significant impact on the index's performance. The methodology ensures that the index accurately represents the overall performance of the included firms.

What Sectors Constitute the Nasdaq 100 Index?

The Nasdaq 100 Index comprises multiple sectors, each playing a vital role in shaping the index's movements. Some of the key sectors represented in the index include:

a) Technology: The technology sector forms the backbone of the Nasdaq 100 Index, with companies specialising in software development, hardware manufacturing, semiconductors, and more. Giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Intel are prominent players within this sector.

b) Consumer Services: This sector covers companies providing various consumer-related services, such as retail, travel, and entertainment. Amazon and Netflix are examples of influential companies from this sector.

c) Healthcare: Healthcare companies focusing on pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical equipment also have a significant presence in the Nasdaq 100 Index. Industry leaders like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer contribute to the index's overall performance.

d) Communications: The communications sector includes companies involved in telecommunications, media, and internet services. Verizon, Comcast, and Alphabet (Google's parent company) are among the key players in this sector.

e) Consumer Goods: Consumer goods companies manufacturing and selling everyday products are also represented in the Nasdaq 100 Index. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are well-known examples from this sector.

How to Weigh the Nasdaq 100 Index?

The Nasdaq 100 Index is weighed using a modified capitalisation methodology. Here's an overview of the steps involved in weighing the index:

Selection of Companies: The first step is to identify the 100 largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. These companies are selected based on their market capitalisation and trading volume, among other criteria.

Market Capitalisation Calculation: The market value of each selected company is determined by multiplying its share price by the total number of outstanding shares. This determines the relative size of each company within the index.

Weighting Calculation: The weight of each company within the index is determined based on its market capitalisation. Larger companies have a higher weight, reflecting their greater influence on the index's performance.

Modified Capitalisation Weighting: The Nasdaq 100 Index applies a modified weighting approach to balance the influence of larger companies. This ensures that no single company dominates the index, promoting diversification.

Index Value Calculation: The index value is calculated by summing the market capitalisations of all the included companies and dividing it by a divisor. The divisor is a constant that maintains continuity in the index value over time.

Rebalancing: The index is rebalanced quarterly to reflect changes in the composition and market capitalisations of the included companies. During rebalancing, the weightings of companies may be adjusted to maintain the desired representation and balance.

By following this methodology, the Nasdaq 100 Index provides investors with an accurate measure of the performance of the largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The calculations ensure that the index represents the market's movements and reflects the performance of the included companies.

How to Trade the Nasdaq 100 Index? 

Here are key thoughts to consider when trading the Nasdaq 100 Index based on the realities of South Africa:

CFDs: One popular way to trade the Nasdaq 100 Index is through Contracts for Difference (CFDs). CFDs are financial derivatives that allow you to speculate on the price movements of the index without owning the underlying assets. With CFDs, you can trade the Nasdaq 100 Index with leverage, which means you can gain exposure to larger market positions by only depositing a fraction of the total trade value upfront. Trading the Nasdaq 100 Index with CFDs provides traders with a range of benefits. These include flexibility, high liquidity, and the ability to speculate on upward or downward price movements.

Trading Platforms: To trade the Nasdaq 100 Index with CFDs, you need to open an account with a reputable online broker that offers access to the index. In South Africa, some popular brokers provide trading platforms where you can trade the Nasdaq 100 Index. These platforms often offer advanced features, real-time market data, charting tools, and order execution capabilities. Examples of trading platforms in South Africa include MetaTrader,Trade station, C Trader.

Market Hours: It's important to consider the market hours in the local time zone when planning your trades. In South Africa, the Nasdaq 100 Index trading hours are 3.30 PM to 10 PM. 

Risk Management: Before engaging in Nasdaq 100 Index trading, it's crucial to have a risk management strategy in place. This includes setting stop-loss orders to limit potential losses, implementing take-profit orders to secure profits, and diversifying your portfolio to manage risk effectively. Also, staying updated on economic events, news releases, and earnings reports that can impact the Nasdaq 100 Index's price is vital for informed trading decisions.

Educational Resources: As a trader, it's essential to continually expand your knowledge and skills. Many online brokers offer educational resources to help you enhance your understanding of trading strategies, technical analysis, and risk management. These resources can include trading guides, webinars, tutorials, and market analysis. Taking advantage of these resources can improve your trading capabilities.

What are the Top 10 Nasdaq 100 Index Companies?

As of the latest data available, the top 10 companies within the Nasdaq 100 Index are:

  • Apple Inc.
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • Alphabet Inc. (Google)
  • Facebook, Inc.
  • Tesla, Inc.
  • NVIDIA Corporation
  • Adobe Inc.
  • Intel Corporation
  • Comcast Corporation

These companies represent a significant portion of the index's market capitalisation and have a substantial influence on its performance.

Bottom Line and Key Takeaways

The Nasdaq 100 Index is a vital indicator of the technology and growth-oriented companies listed on the Nasdaq stock market. It provides investors with insights into the performance and trends within these sectors.

Understanding the Nasdaq 100 Index is crucial for investors looking to navigate the dynamic world of technology and growth stocks effectively. By considering the index's meaning, components, and trading dynamics, investors can make more informed investment decisions.


1. Can I invest directly in the Nasdaq 100 Index?

No, you cannot directly invest in the Nasdaq 100 Index. However, you can invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds that track the performance of the index. Also, you can buy stocks directly from the list.

2. Are all the companies in the Nasdaq 100 Index technology-related?

While the Nasdaq 100 Index is technology-focused, not all the companies included in the index are strictly technology-related. The index encompasses various sectors, including technology, consumer services, healthcare, communications, and consumer goods.

3. How often is the Nasdaq 100 Index rebalanced?

The Nasdaq 100 Index is rebalanced annually in December. During the rebalancing process, companies may be added or removed based on their eligibility criteria.

4. Is the Nasdaq 100 Index only comprised of U.S. companies?

No, the Nasdaq 100 Index is not limited to U.S. companies. It includes both domestic and international companies listed on the Nasdaq stock market.

5. How can I track the performance of the Nasdaq 100 Index?

You can track the performance of the Nasdaq 100 Index through financial news websites, stock market portals, or by using investment platforms that provide real-time market data. Also, there are specific index-tracking ETFs and mutual funds that mirror the index's performance.

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