US-based contract research organisation (CRO) PPD has announced that its shares will be added to the NASDAQ-100 Index, which includes 100 of the largest US and international non-financial securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market.

Inclusion is based on market capitalisation, with indexed securities ranked by market value and evaluated annually against the eligibility criteria. With effect from 22 December 2008, PPD’s common shares will also added to PowerShares QQQ, an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) designed to produce investment results generally corresponding to the price and yield of the NASDAQ-100 Index.

ETFs are investment vehicles that hold a pool of securities and are meant to track a specific index. According NASDAQ, PowerShares QQQ is the most actively traded ETF in the world, with more than 91 million shares traded daily.

PPD described its accession to the NASDAQ-100 Index as “a defining moment” in its history of growth.