Less than two weeks before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, a new index is coming out that will track stocks tied to companies participating in the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The NASDAQ OMX Group (NDAQ) said on Thursday that its Government Relief Index will follow not only those getting financial backing through TARP but also any firm receiving direct government investments from other programs. Presumably, that could include President-elect Obama's proposed $775 billion in additional bailout support to boost jobs and the economy.
Potential benefactors in business from such moves could include industries focused on infrastructure improvements and alternative energy sources, among others.
"We believe the NASDAQ OMX Government Relief Index will be useful in helping investors evaluate the government's investments and the impact of the relief plan on the economy during this period of historical significance," said NASDAQ OMX Executive Vice President John Jacobs in a statement.
TARP has been controversial. It has been attacked from all corners for failing to spur renewed lending activity and unfreezing U.S. credit markets. But even its critics say that the plan did bolster the balance sheets of companies in several key areas, chiefly those dealing in the Financials sector.
The new index will include firms that have received a direct investment from the U.S. government greater than $1 billion. NASDAQ says it plans to launch a series of related indexes in the coming weeks. The benchmark is being calculated in real time and disseminated in dollars. The index began calculation with a value of 1000.00 on Monday.