An index fund is a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund with specific rules of construction that are adhered to regardless of market conditions. An index fund's rules of construction clearly identify the type of companies suitable for the fund. The most commonly known index fund, the S&P 500 Index Fund, is based on the rules established by S&P Dow Jones Indices for their S&P 500 Index. Equity index funds would include groups of stocks with similar characteristics such as the size, value, profitability and/or the geographic location of the companies. A group of stocks may include companies from the United States, Non-US Developed, Emerging Market or Frontier Market countries.
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