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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 ?
Body Mass Index, Outcomes, and Mortality Following Cardiac Surgery in Ontario, Canada.
In the present study, mean VO2 max was estimated and compared with the body mass index in normal weight, overweight and obese students.
Predictive values of body mass index and waist circumference for risk factors of certain related diseases in Chinese adults--study on optimal cut-off points of body mass index and waist circumference in Chinese adults.
Multi-variable regression analysis in a study showed that maternal body mass index and height, parity, and gestational age are associated with newborn's birth weight28 in contrast with our study results though we only calculated p values.
Bone mineral density in postmenopausal Mexican-Mestizo women with normal body mass index, overweight or obesity.
Correlation between body mass index and blood pressure indices, handgrip strength and handgrip endurance in underweight, normal weight and overweight adolescents.
Influence of body mass index and self-perception on the dimension of self-esteem, and the influence of self-esteem, body mass index and dimensions of self-perception on the dimension of the experience of the body were examined using regression analysis.
Risk factors for exacerbation identified in prior studies include severe asthma, viral infections, nonadherence to controller medication, tobacco exposure, and possibly fetal sex and maternal body mass index, the investigators said.
Morbid Obesity (when the Body Mass Index or BMI exceeds 35kg) often leads to a serious impairment on the quality of life, reduces life expectancy, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
The risk of exacerbation was greatest in those with body mass index over 30 kg/[m.sup.2] (odds ratio, 2.2) and in those with gestational weight gain of more than 5 kg in the first trimester (OR, 8.2), Zarqa Ali of Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, and colleagues reported in a poster at an international conference of the American Thoracic Society.
Body mass index (BMI), trunk fat mass, and total body fat mass were all found to increase with age.