The Nasdaq Composite remains the last major U.S. stock index that has yet to reach record territory, but as it marches towards a new milestone, there are just a handful of stocks—five to be precise—that could wield a disproportionate amount of power over any movement.
Before we name them, here's why they have so much influence right now.
The index is made up of the more than 3,000 stocks that are listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. While some of the largest publicly traded companies are represented, there are also many small and even micro capitalization stocks as well. As a market cap weighted index, the Nasdaq Composite is influenced more by the bigger companies than the smaller ones.
That's where the Nasdaq 100 Index comes in. It takes the Composite Index, and narrows down to focus on just 100 of the largest stocks listed on the Nasdaq. Over the past year, the Composite's 16 percent gain has trailed the 100's 21 percent gain. So far in 2015, both are up about 5 percent.