What is Dow Jones?


Quick Answer

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock market index that, as of March 2015, lists 30 major American companies. Dow Jones & Company is a financial information firm that publishes the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Wall Street Journal among other publications.

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What is Dow Jones?
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Full Answer

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has traditionally been used as a general measure of how the U.S. industrial sector is performing. It began in 1884 when founder Charles Dow averaged the performance of two industrial companies and nine railroads in his daily newsletter "Customer's Afternoon Letter." The Dow Jones name was adopted in 1896, and 12 major industrial companies were listed. The index presently lists companies that are among the biggest in the United States,such as ExxonMobil, Microsoft, Pfizer and Verizon. The only company that remains from the original 1896 list is General Electric.

The Dow Jones Company first began publishing the Wall Street Journal in 1889. Dow Jones was an independent company until 2007, when it was acquired by News Corp. After the News Corp acquisition, the Journal reformatted to include more news coverage in addition to financial information. Though Dow Jones has subsidiary status, the company still exists and continues to produce its major publications.

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