Industry Classification Benchmark - ICB

DEFINITION of 'Industry Classification Benchmark - ICB'

A company-classification system for stocks developed by Dow Jones and FTSE. The Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB) is a system that classifies both domestic and international stocks.

Every company has a place in the ICB, which has a four-tier, hierarchical industry-classification structure. The ICB uses a system of 10 industries, partitioned into 18 supersectors, which are further divided into 39 sectors, which in turn contain 104 subsectors.

BREAKING DOWN 'Industry Classification Benchmark - ICB'

The principal aim of the ICB is to categorize individual companies into subsectors based primarily on each company's major source of revenue. The ICB is adopted by stock exchanges representing over 65% of the world's market capitalization.

The ICB competes with the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) for equities, which was developed jointly by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and Standard & Poor's. In practice, most of the same sector and industry designations exist in both standards.

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