Charles H. Dow announced his average of industrial stocks on May 26, 1896. At the time, it contained 12 stocks. The only one still in the average is General Electric. The average was expanded to 20 stocks in 1916 and to its present 30 in 1928.
The Dow Jones industrial average is intended to broadly represent the U.S. stock market and, by extension, the U.S. economy. Today, nine major categories of stock are represented. Utilities and transportation stocks aren't included; there are other Dow averages that track those.
The Dow 30 by category:
Procter & Gamble
Bank of America
Johnson & Johnson
Sources: FactSet, Dow Jones Indexes.
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