When you hear the phrase "The Dow" on Wall Street, people are referring to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. One of the oldest and most recognized indices closely watched by investors, the index saw its inception back on May 26 of the year 1896. It has been called an "icon" of American culture.
The index tracks 30 U.S. blue-chip companies, covering all industries except transportation and utilities. Because of the reputation of the index itself, companies are only selected to be components if the maintainers of the index decide that the company has an excellent reputation. Components must be very large in size, to the point where there is extremely wide investor interest in those companies. The maintainer of the index also factors in sector representation when selecting components, with the goal of keeping the index reflective of the performance of the U.S. economy as a whole.
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