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The performance of a predetermined set of securities, used for comparison purposes. Such sets may be based on published indexes or may be customized to suit an investment strategy.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


A standard against which a security's performance is compared. A benchmark is usually an index of securities of the same or similar class. Stocks are usually compared against stocks; bonds against bonds, etc. Another type of benchmark considers securities according to industry: a telecommunications stock may be compared to other telecommunications stocks. Likewise, mid-cap securities may be benchmarked against other mid-cap securities. Some indices, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, are considered to be benchmarks for the wider economy.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


A standard by which something is measured. For example, bond yields are generally compared to benchmark yields on U.S. Treasury securities of similar maturity. Mutual fund performance is often compared to changes in the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


An investment benchmark is a standard against which the performance of an individual security or group of securities is measured.

For example, the average annual performance of a class of securities over time is a benchmark against which current performance of members of that class and the class itself is measured.

When the benchmark is an index tracking a specific segment of the market, the changing value of the index not only measures the strength or weakness of its segment but is the standard against which the performance of individual investments within the segment are measured.

For example, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are the most widely followed benchmarks, or indicators, of the US market for large-company stocks and the funds that invest in those stocks.

There are other indexes that serve as benchmarks for both broader and narrower segments of the US equities markets, of international markets, and of other types of investments such as bonds, mutual funds, and commodities.

Individual investors and financial professionals often gauge their market expectations and judge the performance of individual investments or market sectors against the appropriate benchmarks. In a somewhat different way, the changing yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond is considered a benchmark of investor attitudes.

For example, a lower yield is an indication that investors are putting money into bonds, driving up the price, possibly because they expect stock prices to drop. Conversely, a higher yield indicates investors are putting their money elsewhere.

Originally the term benchmark was a surveyor's mark indicating a specific height above sea level.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


A permanent reference mark,usually set in concrete or iron and used to establish the elevation above sea level or certain corners in a surveying system. All other measurements in the area should be checked for accuracy relative to the nearest benchmark, preferably against several nearby benchmarks to establish redundancy.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The benchmark index's 111.34 point plummet is the biggest drop the market has witnessed since the 214.64 point decline, a 3.867% fall, which followed the violent dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins near Rab Al-Adaweya Mosque and in Al-Nahda Square.
The benchmark index (EGX30) dipped further below the 13,000-barrier, losing 0.36 percent to end at 12,848 points.
"Egypt's benchmark index gave a positive performance at the beginning of 2013 while the country was, and still is, caught in the grip of uncertainty and political deadlock," stated a press release by Oxford Business Group (OBG).
JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla said Pakistan equities ended on a positive note with the benchmark index settling at 46,486 after hitting an intra-day high of 283 points.
"The blast triggered more selling pressures and weighed further on the benchmark index which started to lose momentum since Thursday's session," Head of Technical Analysis at Cairo Capital, Adham Gamal El-Dein, told Egypt Today.
Egypt's benchmark index EGX 30 defied mounting concerns about upcoming protests on 30 June, closing on Wednesday with a 2.36% rise spurred by a surge in the shares of Orascom Construction Industries.
Summary: DUBAI -- Dubai's benchmark index on Tuesday climbed 0.2 per cent to finish at 1,869 points, extending 2013 gains to 15.2 per cent.
KARACHI -- The stock market continued to rise on Thursday in the wake of heightened investor interest with the benchmark index advancing over 300 points to finish second successive session in the black.
By: Yasmine Samra CAIRO-April 9, 2017: The Egyptian Exchange's benchmark index (EGX30) ended on a negative note Thursday, battered by intensive selling pressures from local traders following two separate deadly bombings this morning.