6 Nasdaq-100 Companies You Should Get to Know

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e all know the FAANGs trade — and that all of them happen to be part of the Nasdaq-100® Index (NDX). But while Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) represent substantial market cap, they are just five components of the widely known Nasdaq-100. There are 95 other companies that contribute to making the NDX one of the best-performing indexes.

To help investors better understand why the NDX is known for being home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, we’re highlighting six lesser known constituents we think you should get to know:

1. Baidu
NDX weighting: 0.38%*
While many Americans haven’t heard of Baidu (BIDU), millions of people in China certainly know the name. The “Google” of China, Baidu is the most well-known and used search engine on the mainland, capturing between 70-80 percent of the search market share in China — which is a population of more than 850 million online users.

The dominant search engine by far, Baidu was even number one when Google still operated in China. After shuttering its service, Baidu took on a similar mantle in the Chinese market and economy, bolstering its search advertising business as it added services like mobile search, online wallets, maps, music, encyclopedias, news, social media and online community tools.

Started in 2000 by Robin Li, its current CEO, Baidu was founded on two principles: simplicity and reliability. Also, its name is an allusion to a Song dynasty poem written more than 800 years ago, the literal meaning of the word being “hundreds of times,” a representation of a continuous striving toward the ideal. Such cultural cornerstones help explain how it climbed to its market-leading position.

2. NVIDIA
NDX weighting: 1.43%*
Perhaps not a household name, NVIDIA (NVDA) is a near-legendary brand in video gaming and various tech sectors. As a leading producer of graphics units, NVIDIA has revolutionized digital technologies in several ways, with business in artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, robotics, entertainment, and much more. In fact, in 2019 it was ranked as the No. 1 most innovative company in AI by Fast Company.

NVIDIA is basically responsible for the life-like graphics you see in video games and other computing applications, having invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999, a technology it continues to reinvent today with real-time graphics.

Apart from its achievements in business, NVIDIA has also received recognition for its support of environmental, social and governance goals. Barron’s annually ranks the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies on ESG factors, and NVIDIA made the top 100 in 2019.

3. Autodesk
NDX weighting: 0.40%*
Modeling software has been a boon for architects, engineers, product designers, construction firms, public planners, animators and other professionals. And they can thank Autodesk (ADSK), a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD), for the tools that help them create the things they envision.

With tens of products across various industries, Autodesk has helped continually innovate new solutions for designing needs. It was recognized for this pedigree of pushing the envelope when it was ranked No. 15 by Forbes on its list of the most innovative companies in the world. Today, besides solutions for construction, civil engineering and entertainment, Autodesk is also working in the Internet of Things, 3D printing and other emerging technologies.

Autodesk has had to contend with upheaval in the software market — shifting from licensing-based sales of boxed solutions to recurring revenue through cloud computing subscriptions — but has come out in the pole position.

4. Verisk
NDX weighting: 0.26%*
Data is the lifeblood of business today, and Verisk Analytics (VRSK) lives in the numbers, helping deliver insights that drive corporate decision-making. An analytics company that focuses on the insurance, financial, and energy and specialty markets, Verisk leverages its unique data sets and extensive domain expertise to provide risk assessment, intelligent compliance and predictive analytics, among other products and services.

Verisk’s data assets are deep, allowing it to mine billions of insurance policy transactions and trillions in consumer spending for insights. Hundreds of subject matter experts in fields like commodity analytics and GIS mapping contribute to the vast experience of the company, as does CEO Scott Stephenson, who was ranked as the No. 16 most innovative leader in America by Forbes in 2019.

5. Check Point Software Technologies
NDX weighting: 0.2%*
While technology has led to many social and economic gains, the new digital world is also one rife with cybercrime. With threats lurking around every online corner, organizations need rock-solid defenses to protect their data and reputations. Enter Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP), a leading provider of diverse cybersecurity products.

Check Point has garnered international recognition in its nearly 30 years of operation, having grown, matured and innovated alongside the wider world of tech. Check Point has collected awards and recognition for its performance in cybersecurity from the likes of Gartner, Forrester, IDC and various other publications. Most recently, it won the Security Innovation of the Year category in the 2018-2019 Cloud Awards for its CloudGuard Dome9 platform.

Founded in Israel with U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley, the company’s sights are trained on combating the fifth generation of cyberattacks.

6. Intuitive Surgical
NDX weighting: 0.72%*
These days, surgeons need a steady hand not only when using a scalpel themselves but also when operating robotic surgical equipment. Such technology has become commonplace in the operating room, if not entirely essential to the success of some advanced procedures. In those terms, Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) is helping to revolutionize health care while also improving patient outcomes and safety.

Founded in 1995, Intuitive builds the da Vinci system, which since its launch in 1999 has defined and advanced intelligent surgery, helping develop minimally invasive procedures. In 24 years of operation, more than six million minimally invasive surgeries have been completed and nearly 5,000 da Vinci systems installed worldwide.

Intuitive, like Verisk, is also well-equipped at the helm to navigate the monumental shifts and opportunities in health care: Its CEO, Gary Guthart, was ranked as the No. 14 most innovative leader in America in 2019 in the same Forbes list.

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