The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a regularly published indicator of the performance of specific stocks, rather than a stock market. It has been historically used as an indicator of the performance of the industrial sector in the United States, but has shifted to simply representing America's largest companies.Continue Reading
As of 2015, the Dow Jones has broken from its roots as an indicator of heavy industry and become more generalized, incorporating financial services, food companies and retailers among others. The 30 companies presently listed are simply among the largest in America regardless of industry. This has led to more common reference to it as the "Dow Jones Index" rather than the "Industrial Average," though it does formally retain the original name.
Some traditional industrial companies remain listed on the index, such as GE, Chevron, ExxonMobil and DuPont, but there are a wide variety of other industries listed. Retail is represented on the index by Walmart and The Home Depot. Food producers include Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Computers and software are represented by Apple, Microsoft, Intel, IBM and Cisco Systems. Broadcasting and communications companies listed include Walt Disney and Verizon. American Express, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Travelers and Visa are financial services companies that are listed.Learn more about Investing