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Dow Jones CDX


The Dow Jones CDX is a series of credit default swap (CDS) indexes that track North American and emerging market credit sectors. These financial instruments are used to manage or hedge credit risk in various investment portfolios. The CDX indexes can give investors exposure to credit risk without the need to own the actual bonds or loans.


“Dow Jones” in phonetics is: /dow dʒoʊnz/”CDX” in phonetics is: /si – di – eks/These phonetic transcriptions are made using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), commonly used to represent the sounds of spoken languages. The transcriptions might slightly vary based on your regional accent.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Dow Jones CDX indices are a series of indices that track the performance of credit default swaps (CDS). They provide a benchmark for the market and assist in hedging and managing credit risk.
  2. The CDX family consists of the CDX North America Investment Grade (CDX.NA.IG), the CDX North America High Yield (CDX.NA.HY), and the CDX Emerging Markets (CDX.EM). These indices represent different risk levels in the credit market.
  3. CDX indices are rolled twice a year, every March and September. This rollover reflects changes in the credit quality of companies and countries worldwide and offers updated benchmarks for credit derivatives.

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Dow Jones CDX is an important term in business and finance because it refers to indices of credit default swaps (CDS), securitized contracts used to transfer the credit exposure of fixed income products between parties. These indices are influential in the market because they measure the overall direction of credit default swap spreads, indicating the default risk for both corporations and sovereign nations. It’s a way for investors, banks, and hedge funds to mitigate risk, or buy/sell risk against the default of a company or country. Therefore, Dow Jones CDX plays a pivotal role in risk management and speculative investment strategies across global financial markets.


The Dow Jones CDX indices are benchmarks that track the performance of the credit default swap (CDS) market. They offer investors a tool to manage and hedge credit risk, as they represent a selection of the most liquid single-name CDSs, or essentially insurance contracts against the default of a bond or other debt instrument. The primary purpose of the Dow Jones CDX is to provide a standardized measure of generalized credit risk in the North American and emerging markets.In terms of its usage, participants in the financial markets use the Dow Jones CDX as both a risk management tool and a means of speculative investment. As a risk management tool, these indices can be used to hedge a portfolio against credit events or economic downturns. For example, if an investor is concerned about potential defaults in their bond portfolio, they could use the CDX to offset some of that risk. On the other hand, speculative investors may use the CDX to bet on the overall health of the credit markets. By going long or short on the index, investors can bet on either an overall improvement or deterioration in credit conditions.


CDX, or Credit Default Swap Index, stands for a group of financial instruments that are used to hedge against or speculate on the potential default by bond issuers. The Dow Jones CDX Indices particularly represent a series of credit default swap benchmarks administered by IHS Markit, a research-based index provider. Here are three real-world examples: 1. Investment Use: An investment bank or hedge fund may use the Dow Jones CDX index to invest in a diversified portfolio of credit risks. By using the Index, the investor gains exposure to a wide range of credit risks without having to buy individual credit default swaps.2. Hedging Credit Risk: For instance, an insurance company that has exposure to corporate debt might use the Dow Jones CDX index to hedge against the risk of default on those bonds. If the company believes that the overall credit market is likely to deteriorate (with more companies defaulting on their debts), it could buy protection using the CDX index. If the index rises (indicating increased default risk), the insurance company might gain on its CDX position even as the value of its bond portfolio falls.3. Speculating on Credit Market: A trading desk at a large bank might think the creditworthiness of North American companies, in general, is going to improve over the next year. This bank can then speculate on this belief by shorting the Dow Jones CDX North America High Yield Index (a common benchmark for companies at greater risk of default). If the average creditworthiness improves and thus the index drop, the trading desk will make a profit.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Dow Jones CDX?

Dow Jones CDX is a series of North American and Emerging Market indices that cover multiple sectors such as investment grade, high yield corporates, and sovereigns. They are indices of credit default swaps and provide a benchmark for the market.

Why are Dow Jones CDX indices important?

Dow Jones CDX indices provide valuable insight into the market’s sentiment towards credit risk. They also provide a highly efficient way for investors to gain exposure to a broad range of credits.

Who uses Dow Jones CDX indices, and why?

These indices are typically used by hedge funds, banks or institutional investors. They can be used for various purposes, such as hedging credit risk, making relative value comparisons, and more.

How is the Dow Jones CDX Index calculated?

The CDX index is calculated using the mid prices of the credit default swaps of the constituents that make up each series. The indices are re-calibrated every six months.

What risks are associated with investing based on Dow Jones CDX indices?

As with any investment, there are risks. These include the credit risk of the companies in the index, liquidity risk, and market risk. It is crucial to understand these risks and consider them when making investment decisions.

What does it mean when the CDX index ‘widens’?

When we say the CDX index ‘widens’ , it means that the cost to insure against default on the underlying credit instruments that make up the index is increasing. This is typically an indication that the market views those underlying credits as being riskier.

Where can I track the Dow Jones CDX indices?

The pricing of the CDX indices can be found on multiple financial market data platforms such as Bloomberg, Reuters, among others.

Are Dow Jones CDX indices associated only with North America?

While the Dow Jones CDX does include a North American index, it also includes emerging markets.

Can individual investors trade Dow Jones CDX Indices?

Trading products based on Dow Jones CDX Indices typically requires access to specialized markets, therefore they are generally traded by institutional investors and not readily accessible to individual retail investors.

: How often are Dow Jones CDX indices updated?

: Dow Jones CDX indices are updated on a daily basis to reflect the changing prices of the underlying credit default swaps. The composition of the index is refreshed every six months.

Related Finance Terms

  • Default Swap
  • Derivatives Index
  • Credit Default Swap Index( CDX)
  • High Yield Index
  • Dow Jones Indices

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