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Investors who've had to read the tea leaves of futures contracts and individual pre-market stock trades will have a new tool to gauge how the Nasdaq will open starting Thursday.

Nasdaq will begin offering what it calls the

Nasdaq 100 Pre-Market Indicator

, an index that takes into account pre-market trading. It will be updated every 60 seconds between 8:30 a.m. and the market's open at 9:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq will make the indicator available on its

Web site and at its showcase building in New York's Times Square.

"We wanted to give the public a realistic sense of what was happening in the cash market as opposed to futures," said Patrick Campbell, Nasdaq's chief operating officer. "The pre-opening information is very important these days."


Nasdaq 100 includes the 100 largest non-financial companies in terms of market capitalization listed on the Nasdaq. The pre-market indicator will estimate prices at the market open for the Nasdaq 100 stocks, with the same methodology used to tabulate the Nasdaq 100 Index during regular market hours. The pre-market indicator will use the previous day's closing prices for the stocks as a baseline and then update those based on real-time pre-open trading.

Typically, pre-market trading occurs on 50 to 55 of the Nasdaq 100 stocks by 8:30 a.m. and on 90 to 95 of the stocks by 9:30 a.m., said Donald Bosic, Nasdaq senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

"As we get closer and closer to 9:30, this is a good indicator of how the market's going to open," Bosic said. "We think it's right on target as a gauge of market sentiment."