July 3, 1884: Dow Jones Publishes Its First Stock Average

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In 1884, Charles Dow composed his first stock average, which contained nine railroads and two industrial companies that appeared in the Customer's Afternoon Letter.

The averages are named after Dow and one of his business associates, statistician Edward Jones.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Dow Jones, or simply the Dow (/ˈdaʊ/), is a stock market index that measures the stock performance of 30 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States.

Though comprising the same number of stocks, this index contained only one of the original twelve industrials that would eventually form Dow's most famous index.

Dow calculated his first average purely of industrial stocks on May 26, 1896, creating what is now known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Some of the companies represented were General Electric, American Tobacco Company, Domino Sugar and United States Leather Company.

When it was first published in the mid-1880s, the index stood at a level of 62.76.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression over the next several years returned the average to its starting point, almost 90% below its peak.

The Industrial portion of the name is largely historical, as many of the modern 30 components have little or nothing to do with traditional heavy industry.

The ten components of the index with the highest dividend yields are referred to as the Dogs of the Dow.

Although the Dow is compiled to gauge the performance of the industrial sector within the American economy, the index's performance continues to be influenced by not only corporate and economic reports, but also by domestic and foreign political events such as war and terrorism, as well as by natural disasters that could potentially lead to economic harm.

Current companies representing a wide span of sectors include Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and Walt Disney.

With the Coronavirus pandemic, In the first quarter of 2020, the DJI fell 23%, its worst quarter since 1987.

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