CAC 40® - 30th anniversary

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the CAC 40®, Euronext Paris flagship index

The CAC 40® represents the performance of major French companies on the financial markets and serves as a barometer for the health of the French economy. The CAC 40® index is made up of the 40 highest ranking companies listed on the Paris market with the largest free float market capitalisation and liquidity. For the companies included in the index, the CAC 40® is a stamp of quality, and a visibility and growth tool allowing them to attract national and international investors.

CAC 40 Index


Euronext, creator of indices

The CAC 40® is Euronext’s most traded index, with an average trading volume of €3,421 million in 2017. This national index is a reference benchmark for millions of institutional and retail investors in France and worldwide, with a diversified sectorial coverage.

Euronext is the administrator of the CAC 40® and its family of indices. This means that Euronext is in charge of the rules, the daily calculation of the index, and the management of corporate actions on CAC 40® securities.

The CAC family: designed for investors

The CAC is a family of eight indices that cover all French listed companies, from large caps to small and mid-caps, with close to 6,000 associated products, designed to meet the varying needs of investors.

    • An index family and products that help encourage savings from both French and foreign investors to be invested in French companies
    • Multiple products matching the needs of the markets:
      • For 30 years, the CAC 40® has served millions of institutional (banks, asset management firms, etc.) and retail clients in the development of investment strategies and the creation of products
      • Close to 6,000 financial instruments are associated with the CAC 40® (warrants, certificates, ETFs, futures, options)
      • The CAC 40® future is the most traded national derivatives product in Europe (€118,000 ADV as of May 2018)
  • CAC 40® shareholders include 2,203 French and international institutional investors from 66 countries, mainly from France (21%), the United States (38%) and the United Kingdom (16%)

Who are the CAC 40® shareholders?

Read our study “Who are the CAC 40 shareholders?” - Published in January 2018

Key points

  • The CAC 40 shareholders were classified according to 11 categories: asset managers, family and founders, individual investors, employees, industrial investors, French State, foreign sovereign funds, financial institutions, pension funds (active management), treasury shares and investment companies.
  • Asset managers increased their holdings in the CAC 40® by 22% between end 2012 and end 2016. By the end of 2016, asset managers held investments totalling €350 billion in CAC 40® companies, through approximately 15,000 funds, accounting for more than a quarter of the index’s shareholding.
  • Families and founders represented approximately 10% of total CAC 40® shareholders, with a total worth of €135 billion at the end of 2016.
  • Individual shareholders’ weight in companies with published data decreased from end 2012 to end 2016, while employee shareholders remained constant at 3.5%.
  • The French government held 3% of the CAC 40 at end 2016, a sharp decrease from end 2012.
  • Foreign states own approximately 2.7% of the CAC 40® shareholding. Norway represented half of all foreign sovereign shareholdings, or 1.6% of the CAC 40®.

Top Ten CAC 40 Shareholders in 2016

Top Ten CAC 40 Shareholders in 2016

Study based on 60% of identifiable CAC 40 shareholders

Key figures on the CAC 40®

Key figures on the CAC 40

Did you know?

CAC 40® stands for “cotation assistée en continu 40” (continuous stock quotation) in French.
The name was also chosen to make a link with the previous name for the Paris exchange, “Companies des Agents de Change”.

The launch of the CAC 40® launch coincided with the French stock market switching to electronic trading in 1986:

  • 31 December 1987: the value of the index was fixed at 1,000 points
  • 15 June1988: official launch of the index

The CAC 40® index was created by the Société des Bourses Françaises (SBF), the name of the French exchange at the time. The index, designed by the SBF, was originally created to support the futures market (MATIF) and the options market (MONEP)

An earlier name for the CAC 40® was to be the ION 40
ION stands for “Indice Options négociables” (traded options index)

The CAC 40® was created according to international standards
The CAC 40® was created following international standards for options indices. Its aim was to be a fixed point of reference for investors.

Why 40 securities?
40 securities is a small enough sample to facilitate hedging and arbitrage strategies on the derivatives markets, yet large enough to represent the different sectors and avoid potential dependencies (on a company, a sector, etc.).

Over 30 years, 94 companies have been part of the CAC 40®
Of the 40 companies included in the CAC 40® at its launch, 20 companies are still part of the index. Over the 30 years of its existence, 94 companies have been part of the index. 12 companies have never left the CAC 40® since its launch.

Supervision of the index is entrusted to a Conseil Scientifique (Scientific Committee)
The committee is composed of independent experts, who are not Euronext employees, and are appointed for a period of three years. The committee’s mission is to select the companies included in the CAC 40® index based on a dedicated set of rules, and to ensure its representativeness. Committee meetings take place at least four times a year, coinciding with the CAC review periods. The dates and decisions are made public right after the meeting. All matters discussed and information provided are strictly confidential. Euronext has no voting rights in the index composition.

You don’t have to be a French company to be part of the CAC 40®
Any foreign company listed on the Paris stock market can also be part of the CAC 40®.

Tech companies are widely represented in the CAC family
The CAC family, of which the CAC 40® and its indices for SMEs such as the CAC Small, has a diversified sectorial coverage, including numerous innovative tech companies.