For the first time in history, the Dow Jones industrial average on Thursday climbed above the 17,000 level, but does it really matter?
To CNBC's Jim Cramer, the answer is not really.
Made up of 30 stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, the Dow is one of the oldest and most watched indexes in the world. The stocks that trade on the Dow are all well-known companies, such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Walt Disney.
The S&P 500 index, on the other hand, consists of 500 stocks picked for market size, liquidity and industry, among other factors.
Being as the Dow only tracks 30 stocks, a fraction of the 500 stocks followed by the S&P, the latter is thought to provide the better read on the market, Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."
"S&P is what you have to focus on. Dow is fun. I like to talk about it because it's 30 companies everybody's heard of," Cramer said. "But the S&P is where the money is and that's how people trade. ... There's not billions of dollars indexed to the Dow."
"So it's nice. It's a talking point, but it's not what the stock market is about," he said.
—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm
DISCLOSURE: When this story was published, Cramer's charitable trust did not own shares of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Walt Disney.