The Wilshire 5000: Invest In The Entire U.S. Stock Market

China iTech Ghana
Friday, October 1, 2021 | views Last Updated 2021-10-01T19:37:49Z

When market analysts talk about the stock market, they’re always mentioning the Nasdaq, the Dow and the S&P 500. While these three indexes are the most common stand-ins for the entire stock market, there’s another option that truly fits the bill: the Wilshire 5000.

What Is the Wilshire 5000?

The Wilshire 5000 is an index that tracks the performance of the entire U.S. stock market. Unlike other proxies for the market that may contain as few as 30 stocks, the Wilshire 5000 holds thousands at any given time to try to truly replicate the whole market.

That means it’s an enormous index. In fact, its total market value was $46 trillion as of late September 2021. That’s almost $8 trillion more than the S&P 500, which tracks about a 10th of the companies.

Wilshire maintains three different versions of the index, each of which is weighted slightly differently:

Wilshire 5000 Companies

Despite its name, the Wilshire 5000 does not track 5,000 equities. The actual count of securities that it tracks changes over time. Since the Wilshire 5000 Index’s inception, index membership has fluctuated. For example, there were over 7,500 companies in the index as of 1998. Today, that number has dropped to about 3,500. The composition of the index is reviewed and adjusted monthly.

To be included in the Wilshire 5000, companies must be publicly traded and have their headquarters in the United States. As the index aims to replicate the economy on the whole, companies included in the index can range in size and market capitalization and be from any industry.

For example, Apple, the biggest company within the index, has a market capitalization of $2.117 trillion. By contrast, Westell Technologies—one of the smallest companies within the index—has a market capitalization of just $8 million.

As of Sept. 27, 2021, the largest companies in the Wilshire 5000 Index (by percentage of their net assets occupy of the index’s total) are:

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  • The Wilshire 5000: Invest In The Entire U.S. Stock Market

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