What is the FTSE 100?


February 2021

The UK’s best-known index is the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100, which comprises the hundred largest companies listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange by market cap. Overall, while the FTSE 100 strives for accuracy and consistency in company eligibility, occasional anomalies or unintentional inclusions/exclusions can occur due to extraordinary events or market dynamics. For example, a company’s market capitalisation may experience significant, sudden volatility, causing it to move in and out of the FTSE 100. For example, a company’s market capitalization may experience significant, sudden volatility, causing it to move in and out of the FTSE 100. This is different from full market cap, as it only takes into account floating stock, i.e. those shares that are freely available to trade, and not restricted or closely held stock. In the case of the Footsie, that segment is the 100 largest companies, as ranked by market capitalization, on the London Stock Exchange.

  1. The company boasts of an annual dividend of more than 5% which justifies its position in the list, in addition to a strong market cap.
  2. This could be in the form of an index mutual fund, or an index exchange-traded fund (ETF).
  3. Thanks to the presence of plenty of ‘old economy’ stocks, for example, the likes of mining and pharmaceutical companies, the FTSE 100 held up relatively well despite the downturn in global stock markets last year.
  4. FTSE Group operates 250,000 indices calculated across 80 countries and in 2015 was the number three provider of indices worldwide by revenue.
  5. The FTSE 100 undergoes changes on a quarterly basis to ensure that it only plays hosts to the top 100 companies in the U.K main market.

Free Floating adjustment factor represents the percentage of all shares readily available for trading. FTSE Russell owns Mergent and Mergent Online, a leading data and reference https://traderoom.info/ provider for academic and professional research and study. Their database houses archives of corporate records and references that date back as far as 100 years.


The index being free to float essentially means it only takes into account the shares held in public hands and not restricted shares held by company’s insiders or government holdings. That said each company listed in the index is allocated an adjustment factor depending on the amount of shares publicly traded. All the companies in listed in the FTSE 100 are constituent of the London Stock Exchange which is the main market in the U.K.

Clients include both active and passive fund managers, consultants, asset owners, sell-side firms and financial data vendors. FTSE’s products are used by market participants worldwide for investment analysis, performance measurement, asset allocation and hedging. If you have an international trading account set up at a broker, you’ll be able to gain access to most of FTSE’s indexes through the London Stock Exchange or other international exchanges.

The index came into be in 1984, as a joint venture between the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times. The acronym FTSE originates from when the Financial Times and London stock exchange owned the index 50/50, hence the FT and SE that make up the name FTSE. The company was launched in 1995 as a joint venture between the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange. In 2013, FTSE and TMX group created a joint venture (FTSE TMX) to develop indexes for the North American fixed-income market. The group acquired MTS in 2014 to create European government indexes and combined with Russell that same year to form FTSE Russell.

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This allows investors to see how a particular stock market performs day-to-day (and year-to-year) and to gauge how the performance of different markets compare with one another. The greater a company’s free-float market cap, the bigger its weighting, and therefore the more influence its own price movements will have on how the FTSE performs. Many market analysts, traders, and investors look to the FTSE 100 as a proxy for the performance of the wider U.K.

These various FTSE indices expand the scope of analysis and investment opportunities, complementing and giving a more robust view than that provided only by the FTSE 100. Understanding the FTSE 100 is crucial for navigating the complex world of investing for both seasoned investors and those just starting out. In this article, we’ll demystify the FTSE 100 index, explore its significance for all types of investors, dive into its fascinating history, and unravel how it actually works. In 2005, together with Dow Jones, FTSE launched the Industry Classification Benchmark, a taxonomy used to segregate markets into sectors.

Any changes to the underlying index constituents and their weighting come from the values of the companies taken at the close of business the night before the review. Economic Releases tend to have an impact on various companies most of which are listed in the index, conversely affecting the FTSE 100 direction of trade. Some of the reports include interest rate hike decisions, Manufacturing data as well as UK GDP Data.

Its most popular index, the FTSE 100, tracks the top 100 companies by market cap in the United Kingdom, similarly to how the S&P 500 works in the U.S. Investors looking to gain exposure to these indices can invest in funds that track the indices, such as the iShares Core FTSE 100. Considering that share price movement affects the total market capitalization of companies listed in the index, the index level tends to fluctuate throughout the day when the market is open. The FTSE 100 lists the top 100 companies by market cap, listed on the London Stock Exchange.

When is the FTSE 100 Open?

At the time of writing (August 2023), AstraZeneca is currently the largest company in the FTSE 100, with a market cap of £165 billion while Johnson Matthey is the smallest, valued at £4 billion. Indices are also an important tool for assessing the fxopen broker review performance of investments as actively-managed funds aim to ‘beat the benchmark’ which is usually based on a specific index. A stock index provides a standardised way of tracking changes in the price of an overall basket of shares or other assets.

The level of the FTSE 100 is calculated using the total market capitalization of the constituent companies and the index value. Total market capitalization changes alongside individual share prices of the indexed companies throughout the trading day, so the index value also changes. When the FTSE 100 is quoted up or down, it is measured against the previous day’s market close. Most indices are weighted by the size, or market capitalisation, of the individual constituent companies.

It is important to note that the composition of the FTSE 100 changes over time due to various factors, such as market dynamics, company performance, and eligibility criteria (as seen below). What drives the FTSE’s daily movements is the changing share prices of its components and the weighting of those components. The FTSE Russell Group, established in 2015 after the merger of FTSE and Russell Investments, is a U.K.-based global provider of benchmark financial indexes, market data, and analytics. The index also acts as a useful performance benchmark that investors use to gauge the type of stocks to buy or sell.

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It creates indexes and performs research and analysis for financial professionals, firms, investors, and academics. The first is ‘full replication’ where the tracker fund buys shares in each of the companies in the FTSE 100 index in proportion to its weighting. Thanks to the presence of plenty of ‘old economy’ stocks, for example, the likes of mining and pharmaceutical companies, the FTSE 100 held up relatively well despite the downturn in global stock markets last year.

The FTSE 100 is known to move up and down on huge volume during earnings sessions. The index tends to move higher on earnings report of the listed companies turning out positive. Over the years, the index has proved to be vulnerable more so to earnings reports of top banks in the U.K, as they provide a clear insight as to how the overall economy is doing. The FTSE Group also monitors bonds held and issued by the companies listed as a way of ascertaining their financial stability. FTSE 100 goes by the full name “Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index” sometimes shortened to FTSE or pronounced “Footsie”.

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