What is QQQQ?

QQQQ was the ticker for the Nasdaq 100 Index Trust ETF (it is now QQQ).

How Does QQQQ Work?

The Nasdaq 100 Index is composed of the 100 largest stocks (based on market capitalization) traded on the Nasdaq. This index is computed using a modified market weighting. Although firms with the largest market caps tend to have the largest influence on the index, their values are modified to keep any issues from having an 'overwhelming' effect on the index results. The actual computation methods are proprietary to the Nasdaq.

Because it tracks stocks traded on the Nasdaq exchange, it is often considered a technology barometer despite the fact that many health care, biotech and service issues trade there as well. Though it was introduced in 1985, the tracking fund was formally launched near the height of the Internet bubble in March 1999. It has quickly become the most actively traded index on the market.

Why Does QQQQ Matter?

The Nasdaq 100 gives investors a quick snapshot of how some of the nation's largest technology firms are faring. It includes almost all of the country's top technology stocks, so it is a better proxy for this sector than most indexes.

The Nasdaq 100 is heavily weighted toward technology stocks, making it difficult to use as a gauge for the overall market. This tech-heavy focus also makes the index extremely volatile compared to other indexes. Though the Nasdaq 100 will generally follow the same trend as other indexes (such as the S&P 500), it is not uncommon for it to be twice as volatile as other indexes on strong up or down days.

The NASDAQ 100 trades under many forms. Hedge funds, day traders and personal investors often use the index as a means to speculate or hedge their portfolios. Because of its wide usage, the Nasdaq 100 is one of the most heavily traded indexes on the planet.