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Statistical composite that measures changes in the economy or in financial markets, often expressed in percentage changes from a base year or from the previous month. Indexes measure the ups and downs of stock, bond, and some commodities markets, in terms of market prices and weighting of companies in the index.


A statistical measure of the value of a certain portfolio of securities. The portfolio may be for a certain class of security, a certain industry, or may include the most important securities in a given market, among other options. The value of an index increases when the aggregate value of the underlying securities increases, and decreases when the aggregate value decreases. An index may track stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and any other security or investment vehicle, including other indices. An index's value may be weighted; for example, securities with higher prices or greater market capitalization may affect the index's value more than others. One of the most prominent examples of an index is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is weighted for price and tracks 30 stocks important in American markets.


The relative value of a variable in comparison with itself on a different date. Many security price indicators such as the Standard & Poor's series and the New York Stock Exchange series are constructed as indexes. Also called stock index. See also base period.


To adjust a variable by a selected measure of relative value. For example, it has been proposed that an investor's basis on a security be indexed for changes in consumer prices so that only real increases in value will be taxed. Also called tax indexing. See also subindex.


An index reports changes up or down, usually expressed as points and as a percentage, in a specific financial market, in a number of related markets, or in an economy as a whole.

Each index -- and there are a large number of them -- measures the market or economy it tracks from a specific starting point. That point might be as recent as the previous day or many years in the past.

For those reasons, indexes are often used as performance benchmarks against which to measure the return of investments that resemble those tracked by the index.

A market index may be calculated arithmetically or geometrically. That's one reason two indexes tracking similar markets may report different results. Further, some indexes are weighted and others are not.

Weighting means giving more significance to some elements in the index than to others. For example, a market capitalization weighted index is more influenced by price changes in the stock of its largest companies than by price changes in the stock of its smaller companies.


(1) A statistical indicator that measures changes in the economy in general or in particular areas.An example is the cost-of-living index.(2) A reference point against which measurements are taken for purposes of making future adjustments.An adjustable-rate mortgage might begin with an interest rate of 6 percent and provide that it will increase or decrease in a like percentage as the increase or decrease between today's quoted price for 10-year U.S.Treasury bonds and the price on the loan's annual anniversary date.We would say that 10-year T-bonds are the index.

Some leading loan indices include

• Wall Street Journal prime
• Federal discount rate
• Fed funds rate
• 11th District Cost of Funds
• 10-year Treasuries
• One-year LIBOR

References in periodicals archive ?
and Australia, for example, labels featuring the glycemic index are already popular and soon will be in the U.
A woman's glycemic load was calculated by multiplying the carbohydrate content of each food she consumed by its glycemic index, then multiplying this figure by the food's frequency of consumption, and finally summing these values for all foods.
In fact, to nutritional epidemiologist Simin Liu of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, the work on glycemic index "is the most fascinating and promising area in nutrition research today.
Overall carbohydrate intake, glycemic index and glycemic load were not associated with heart disease risk in men.
The more fiber in a carbohydrate food, the lower the Glycemic Index because it increases the amount of time needed to digest it.
Shechter recommends sticking to foods like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, which have a low glycemic index.
The total amount of carbohydrates consumed was more important than the glycemic index in achieving optimal blood sugar control.
One group was given a list of foods with a low glycemic index (LGI) to include in their diet daily.
The glycemic index (GI) is a way of ranking foods, particularly carbohydrates, according to how quickly they affect the blood glucose levels in the body when they are eaten," said lead review author Diana Thomas.
Like a round of golf, the objective is to select and ingest snacks, foods, and beverages that have lower glycemic index values, and meals with a lower glycemic load (lower carbohydrate content, as glycemic load = glycemic index score X amount of carbohydrates).
July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent scientific evaluation of Sambazon's Original(TM) Acai Berry Juice concluded that it is a low glycemic index (GI) beverage, lower than most fruit-based beverages, including orange juice, and many whole fruits.
Lowering the glycemic index of the diet improved glycemic control and risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD)," said the authors.