The Standard and Poors 500 index tracks the performance of the US’s 500 leading companies, and so is more representative of US shares than the 30-share Dow. This covers firms listed on Nasdaq (see below), such as Microsoft and Apple, as well as those on the NYSE, capturing 75% of the value of US quoted shares. The index was first published in 1957.
Professional investors pay more attention to this index rather than the deeply flawed Dow – the news broadcasters are yet to catch up. The top ten companies account for 21% of the index and include Exxon Mobil, IBM, GEC, AT&T, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola and Wells Fargo, as well as the two computer giants.