Invest in the Wilshire 5000

It tracks the entire US market but is dominated by its large-cap stocks.

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The Wilshire 5000 tracks every actively traded US equity, offering an appealing buy-the-market opportunity for investors in Australia seeking portfolio diversification. But not many funds track this index, so there are few opportunities for Australians interested in investing in the Wilshire 5000.

What is the Wilshire 5000?

The Wilshire 5000, also called the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index (TMWX), is an index that tracks all US equities actively traded on the American Stock Exchange. This broad-based market index was named for its nearly 5,000 stocks when first launched in 1974 — but the index hasn’t held more than 5,000 companies since 2005. As of 2019, the index held 3,492 stocks.

To be included in the Wilshire 5000, a stock must meet three criteria:

  1. The company must be headquartered in the US.
  2. Its stocks must be actively traded on an American stock exchange.
  3. Stocks must have publicly available pricing information.

How to invest in the Wilshire 5000

Unlike other indexes that only capture a slice of the market, the Wilshire 5000 aims to track the entire US stock market. It covers a generous selection of stock market sectors and offers market exposure through stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Investors can purchase ETFs that track the full index or invest in individual stocks within the index.

Here’s a snapshot of the process:

  1. Pick a platform. Compare trading platforms in Australia to find the brokerage that best meets your investment needs.
  2. Open an account. Applications for web-based brokerages can be completed online, and you’ll need to fund your account before you start trading.
  3. Purchase securities. Use your platform’s research tools to find the stocks or funds you’d like to purchase.
  4. Monitor investments. Log in to your brokerage account to track your investment performance.

What stocks are in the Wilshire 5000?

It tracks the biggest publicly traded companies in the US, including:

What ETFs track the Wilshire 5000?

Major funds that track the Wilshire 5000 include:

  • Wilshire 5000 Total Market ETF (TMWX)
  • Wilshire 4500 Completion ETF (XWXSX)
  • Wilshire 5000 Index Investment Fund (WFIVX)

How is the Wilshire 5000 performing?

The graph below tracks how the Wilshire 5000 has performed historically. Toggle between the options on the graph to see the data for the past month, three months, year or five years.

Why should I invest in the Wilshire 5000?

The Wilshire 5000 acts as a barometer for US markets. Investing in a comprehensive index fund provides instant portfolio diversification for an investor in Australia with limited market exposure.

Broad indexes like the Wilshire offer investors the opportunity to “buy the market” — you’re getting a small slice of every tradable security on the American Stock Exchange. This type of diversification can help your portfolio weather the natural highs and lows that impact individual industries.

What are the risks of investing in Wilshire 5000?

The Wilshire 5000 suffers from the same flaw as the Russell 3000: it overweights large-cap stocks. As a result, the index is largely dominated by the biggest companies it tracks.

To build a balanced portfolio, consider investing in indexes that specifically target small-cap stocks, like the Russell 2000.

Compare stock trading platforms

Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Markets International
eToro (global stocks)
US$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Zero brokerage share trading on US, Hong Kong and European stocks with trades as low as $50.
Note: This broker offers CFDs which are volatile investment products and most clients lose money trading CFDs with this provider.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
IG Share Trading
$8
$50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
ASX shares, Global shares
Yes
$0 brokerage for US and global shares plus get an active trader discount of $5 commission on Australian shares.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Superhero share trading
$5
No
ASX shares, US shares
Yes
Earn up to 15,000 Qantas frequent flyer points when you transfer an exisiting balance or trade. Offer valid for all new and existing Superhero members until 28 February.
Pay zero brokerage on US stocks and all ETFs and just $5 (flat fee) to trade Australian shares from your mobile or desktop.
ThinkMarkets Share Trading
$8
No
ASX shares
No
Limited-time offer: Get 10 free ASX trades ($0 brokerage) when you open a share trading account with ThinkMarkets before 31 December 2021(T&Cs apply). $8 flat fee brokerage for CHESS Sponsored ASX stocks (HIN ownership), plus free live stock price data on an easy to use mobile app.
Bell Direct Share Trading
$15
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs
No
Finder Exclusive: Get 5 free stock trades and unlimited ETF trades until 31 Dec 2021, when you join Bell Direct. T&Cs apply.
Bell Direct offers a one-second placement guarantee on market-to-limit ASX orders or your trade is free, plus enjoy extensive free research reports from top financial experts.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
$5
No
ASX shares, Global shares, ETFs
Yes
Access 19,000+ stocks on 40+ exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
HSBC Online Share Trading
$19.95
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs, Bonds
No
Limited-time offer: Join HSBC’s online trading account before 28 February 2022 and HSBC will reimburse you up to $100 on your first 5 trades. Also traders who transfer $50k+ will get a $200 bonus(T&Cs apply).
Make trades online with brokerage fees starting from just $19.95 with an HSBC Online Share Trading account. Plus gain access to complimentary expert research, trading ideas and tools.
CMC Markets Invest
$11
No
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
Yes
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 9,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges.
SelfWealth (Basic account)
$9.5
No
ASX shares, US shares
Yes
Trade ASX and US shares for a flat fee of $9.50, regardless of the trade size.
New customers receive free access to Community Insights with SelfWealth Premium for the first 90 days. Follow other investors and benchmark your portfolio performance.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. Standard brokerage is the cost to purchase $1,000 or less of equities without any qualifications or special eligibility. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

Bottom line

The Wilshire 5000 is among the broadest and most comprehensive indexes to track the US market. Invest by purchasing individual stocks or funds that track the index. But remember that the Wilshire 5000 is heavily impacted by large-cap stocks, so if you’re interested in investing in smaller businesses, consider building out your portfolio with funds that track targeted subsections of the market.

The quickest way to meet your investment goals is by using the right platform. Explore your brokerage account options with multiple trading platforms for the account best suited to your investment needs.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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