CAC 40 :
The CAC 40 is used as a benchmark index for funds investing in the French stock market and also gives a general idea of the direction of the Paris Bourse. The CAC 40 is similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in that it is the most commonly used index that represents the overall level and direction of the market in France. At the time of writing (Aug 2005), the CAC 40 included such companies as Renault, Michelin, L'Oreal and Vivendi Universal.
The S&P 500 Index is a diverse index that includes 500 American companies that represent over 70% of the total market capitalization of the U.S. stock market.
The S&P 500 is one of the most commonly used benchmarks for the overall U.S. stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was at one time the most renowned index for U.S. stocks, but because the DJIA contains only 30 companies, most people agree that the S&P 500 is a better representation of the U.S. market.
Standard & Poor's 500 a basket of 500 stocks that are considered to be widely held. The S&P 500 index is weighted by market value, and its performance is thought to be representative of the stock market as a whole The S&P 500 is not comprised of simply the 500 largest U.S. stocks. Instead, it consists primarily of leading companies from a wide variety of different economic sectors. The index started with 23 identified sectors, but today contains over 100 unique sectors. Most analysts choose to use the S&P as their preferred benchmark index thanks to its diversified sector coverage as well as its market value weighting. Because the index is weighted by market capitalization, the largest firms have the greatest impact on the S&P's value.
A number of financial products based on the S&P 500 are available to investors. These include index funds and exchange-traded funds. However, it would be difficult for individual investors to buy the index, as this would entail buying 500 different...