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Most investors, even newer ones, are familiar with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And if you're not, that's ok, too. We've put together some answers to your most common questions and provided links to many relevant articles.
So, what is the Dow Jones today? The Dow Jones Industrial Average, known colloquially as the Dow, is a stock market index. The index is based on 30 large, publicly traded companies on any given trading day.
The "Dow stock" number is an average of the 30 indexed companies' performances. The term "Dow stock" is often used by investors and the media as an overview of the health of the stock market as a whole.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the most well-known of the Dow Averages, but is the second largest to the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
You might be wondering just where the "industrial" part of the name comes from. It's largely historical. Most of the 30 indexed companies today have nothing to do with industrial industries. In the past, when the Dow was created, the majority of the companies were in the industrial sector.
Which Dow Stocks are Tracked Today?
There are 30 companies that qualify as a "Dow stock."
Over time, new companies are added to the index and old, or less successful, companies are removed.
As of June 2018, these are the companies indexed as Dow stocks:
- American Express
- Cisco Systems
- Dow DuPont
- Goldman Sachs
- The Home Depot
- Johnson & Johnson
- JPMorgan Chase
- Merck & Company
- Procter & Gamble
- UnitedHealth Group
- United Technologies
- Walgreens Boots Alliance
- Walt Disney
The most recent addition to the Dow stock index is Walgreens Boots Alliance which was added in June of 2018. When Walgreens Boots Alliance was added, it replaced General Electric. This is a point to note simply for the history. General Electric had been part of the Dow stock index since 1907-over 110 years.
The oldest company on the Dow stock index is ExxonMobil. The company joined the Dow stock index in January 1928 as Standard Oil of New Jersey. Ever since, the company has been included as one of the 30 indexed for Dow stock.
How Do I Invest In a Dow Stock?
Investing in the Dow is easy. There are three main ways to invest: exchange-traded funds, options contracts, or futures contracts.
When Can I Trade Dow Stocks?
This is a tricky question as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is an index. It's simply a statistic, not a security. So, you can't actually buy Dow stocks. But, you can buy mutual funds or ETFs that have portfolios structured to mirror the performance of the Dow.
If you're interested in a valuable Dow stock to begin your portfolio, consider investing in Apple stock.