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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, it then grew to a high count of 7,562 on July 31, 1998. Since then, the count fell steadily to 3,776 as of December 31, 2013, where it has then bounced back to 3,818 as of September 30, 2014. The last time the Wilshire 5000 actually contained 5,000 or more companies was December 29, 2005.
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.