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An index measures the stock market performance of a basket of assets. The most popular stock market indexes are the S&P 500, teach-heavy Nasdaq, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Russell 2000, FTSE 100, and Dax 30.

Indexes usually consist of assets belonging to a specific sector of the market. For instance, the Nasdaq index is usually seen as a benchmark stock market indicator that measures the performance of the tech sector.

The stock market index is also built to act as a benchmark against which investors evaluate the performance of their portfolios. For instance, many funds or companies measure their performance against the year-to-date performance of the S&P 500 index, which is seen as the benchmark U.S. stock market index. Moreover, analysts tend to look at the key indexes and see how investors feel about the health of the economy and stock market. 

Importantly, not all stocks carry the same weight within the specific index. As a result, stocks with higher weightings have a greater impact on the index’s performance than those with lower weightings. 

Indexes also represent a popular tool for investing as they are seen as a passive method for income management. Many retail investors opt to invest in indexes and save time, energy, and effort in strategizing when to buy and sell single stocks.

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