US Markets

Why Cramer is downplaying Dow 17,000

Dow breaks 17,000
Dow breaks 17,000

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.

Jim Cramer
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

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.

Read More Dow hits 17,000 for first time on payrolls report

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."

Read MoreDow17,000: Who led & lagged the last 1,000 points

"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.

Read MoreDow could touch 20,000 by year end: Jeremy Siegel

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.