At 30, Nasdaq-100 Recognized as Benchmark for Innovation

Once considered a pure play on technology stocks, the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX), which celebrated its 30th anniversary on January 31, 2015, has emerged as the de facto benchmark for broad-based innovation, representing the "new global economy," according to a recent Nasdaq study titled The Nasdaq-100 Turns 30: Tracking Innovation in Large Cap Growth.

"The Nasdaq-100 was launched at a time when the investment community was looking to showcase the top stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. With its 100 highly-liquid components, it is no surprise that derivative products linked to the Nasdaq-100 have been so well-received, as investors look to diversify their portfolios," said Salil Donde, Executive Vice President and head of Nasdaq's Global Information Services business. "We expect to see more products launched that are tied to the Nasdaq-100, especially as the ETF industry continues its rapid expansion and potentially rivals the asset base of mutual funds."

As one of the world's most widely-followed stock indexes, the Nasdaq-100 represents the top 100 non-financial companies listed on The Nasdaq Stock Market®, and serves as the benchmark for companies that drive the global economy. The fastest growing industries in the world are led by the companies in the Nasdaq-100, and approximately $50 billion in exchange-traded products are tied to the Nasdaq-100, including the most well-known product, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (symbol QQQ) or, simply, "the Qs."

From the launch of the Nasdaq-100 in 1985 through 2014, a total of 448 stocks were members of the Nasdaq-100. Of the original members at launch, seven are still in the current index. These include: Apple, Costco (originally Price Club), Intel, KLA-Tencor, Micron Technology, PACCAR, and Seagate Technology.

In 1985, Intel was the largest component in the Nasdaq-100, with a market cap of $3.5 billion. The second and third largest components in 1985, MCI and Apple, had market caps of $2.3 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. In total, the market cap of the Nasdaq-100 was $58 billion in 1985, and has since grown to 80 times that size, to its current value of approximately $4.99 trillion and includes three of the top five largest companies in the world by market capitalization.

Over the past 30 years the Nasdaq-100 has evolved to include some of the most innovative companies on the planet, such as these bellwethers of technology: Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and Google. The Index has diversified since its inception, and now includes top companies in healthcare, media, retail and industrials, such as Gilead Sciences, DirectTV, Amazon, Keurig, Marriott, Netflix, Starbucks, Tesla, and Whole Foods, among many others.