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The Wilshire 5000 Total Market IndexSM is widely accepted as the definitive benchmark for the U.S. equity market, and measures performance of all U.S. equity securities with readily available price data. Named for the nearly 5,000 stocks it contained at launch, the index membership has risen and fallen since inception – to more than 7,500 in 1998 to approximately 3,500 today.
The Wilshire 5000 base is its December 31, 1980 capitalization of $1,404.596 billion; therefore, the index can serve as an excellent approximation of dollar changes in the U.S. equity market in billions of dollars. For example, index values of 2157.146 on December 30, 1985 and 2164.690 on December 31, 1985 represent an approximate increase of $7.5 billion. Over time, the index and market value track away from this near one-to-one billion relationship because of additions and deletions to where the relationship as of December 2013 is a single point in the Wilshire 5000 represents about $1.15 billion in index market value. Barron’s was first to publish the Wilshire 5000 Index on January 13, 1975. Now, the Wilshire 5000 is updated every second as part of the NYSE GIF feed.