Stock market talk is everywhere, from TV and radio, to the newspapers and the web. But what does it mean when people say that "the market turned in a great performance today?" What is "the market" anyway?
As it turns out, when most people talk about "the market," they are actually referring to an index. With the growing importance of the stock market in our society, the names of indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite have become part of our everyday vocabulary.
This tutorial will define what an index is, discuss some of the major stock indexes and explain how you can invest in the stock market using index funds.
(If you aren't familiar with the stock market and mutual funds, we suggest that you check out our Stock Basics Tutorial and Mutual Fund Basics Tutorial before reading on.)
Index Investing: What Is An Index?
InvestingLearn about the advantages and disadvantages of stock indexes and passive index funds. Discover how there is an opportunity cost to using index funds.
InvestingLearn about the basics - and the pitfalls - of investing in mutual funds.
InvestingIndex funds, at their best, offer a low-cost way for investors to track popular stock and bond market indexes. But not all index funds are created equally.
InvestingLearn about six common types of financial tables and figure out how to interpret them.
InvestingMutual funds are a good investment opportunity, but investors should know how they operate.