The Dow this, the Dow that - you hear it on every news station during the evening news: "The Dow is up, the Dow is down." Veteran stock market gurus know about the Dow all too well, but if you have never even laid eyes on a chart before, it would do you well to learn a little bit about one of the most important indexes in the United States.
So what IS the Dow?
There are many names to describe the Dow, not the least of which are the Dow Jones Industrial Average, DJIA, the Industrial Average, the Dow Jones, the DJI, or the Dow 30. It's one of several stock market indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder, Charles Dow. The industrial average was first calculated on May 26, 1896 and it is an index that shows how 30 large publicly owned companies based in the United States have traded during a standard trading session in the stock market. The "industrial" portion of the name is largely a historical term, since many of the 30 components today have little or nothing to do with traditional heavy industry.
Below are the current 30 companies represented by the Dow Jones Industrial Average - odds are you know most of them:
On the whole, history has been kind to the Dow, but this was not without some substantial pullbacks in history. You many recall a massive plunge at peak of the recession in 2008-2009, however the market has more than made up for this volatility and it continues to climb.
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