The overall trend of Dow Jones stock prices as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average is to increase over time. Since 2003, the only time in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the year lower than when it began occurred in 2008.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price index of the stocks of 30 large companies traded on the New York and Nasdaq stock exchanges. Investors use it as a tool to measure overall market performance and as a guide to investing. Other price indexes include the S&P 500, which tracks stock prices for 500 large companies, and the Russell 2000, which tracks the stock prices of 2,000 smaller companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average does not indicate the performance of individual companies but is a general indicator of how the market and the economy are performing as a whole.