The cornerstone of Dow Jones is its flagship publication, The Wall Street
Journal, which also happens to be the world's leading business publication. The
Journal, which was founded in 1889, has a current circulation of nearly 2.1
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an index of
30 "blue-chip" U.S. stocks. At 100-plus years, it is the oldest continuing U.S.
market index. It is called an "average" because it originally was computed by
adding up stock prices and dividing by the number of stocks. (The very first
average price of industrial stocks, on May 26, 1896, was 40.94.) The methodology
remains the same today, but the divisor has been changed to preserve historical
continuity. The DJIA is the best-known market indicator in the world, partly
because it is old enough that many generations of investors have become
accustomed to quoting it, and partly because the U.S. stock market is the
The industrial average started
out with 12 in 1896, rising to 20 in 1916. The 30-stock average made its debut
in 1928, and the number has remained constant ever since.
Microsoft and Intel are the only blue-chips that are
not quoted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). They are laisted
There are two
ways to measure: index points and percentage change. Here are tables of
the biggest one-day rises in both terms.
Source: Dow Jones & Company
Summary of Key
"Customers Afternoon Letter" publishes closing prices of 11 stocks - nine
railroads, Western Union and Pacific Mail. Closing average price not available.
16 February 1885
The average closed at 62.76, the first time it is published on a regular basis,
and includes 14 stocks - 12 railroads and two industrials.
26 May 1896
Charles Dow introduces the first index composed entirely of industrial shares,
covering 12 companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is born.
12 January 1906
Index closes at 100.25, the first close above 100. President Theodore Roosevelt
is in office. The New York Stock Exchange trades 260m shares for the year.
12 March 1956
First close over 500 at 500.24. Dwight Eisenhower is in the White House. Trading
on the New York Stock Exchange totals 766m shares for the year.
14 November 1972
The Dow tops 1,000 to end at 1,003.16. President Richard Nixon is in office. The
index briefly reached 1,000 in early 1966 but retreated and closed below that
milestone. The NYSE trades nearly 3bn shares for all of 1972.
8 January 1987
First close above 2,000 at 2,002.25. President Ronald Reagan is in office.
19 October 1987
The index falls 508 points to 1,738.74, the biggest one-day drop in its history,
wiping 22.6% off its value in one day.
13 July 1990
The Dow hits 3,000 for the first time but falls back to close at 2,980.20.
17 April 1991
Dow ends above 3,000 for the first time at 3,004.46. George Bush is president,
facing a severe budget deficit. 40bn shares are traded on the NYSE for the year.
23 February 1995
First close above 4,000 at 4,003.33 amid euphoria that interest rates were
peaking. Bill Clinton is in the White House.
21 November 1995
Ends above 5,000 for the first time at 5,023.54, passing two millennium markers
in the same year.
14 October 1996
The Dow breaks through the 6,000 points level for the first time and closes at
6,010.00, double where it stood just five-and-a-half years earlier. NYSE volume
routinely exceeds 2bn shares per week.
13 February 1997
Just four months later, the Dow Jones has added another 1,000 points to close
16 July 1997
The Dow Jones index closes above 8,000. In less than two-and-a-half years the
Dow Jones has managed to double in size.
27 October 1997
Chaos on Asia's financial markets leads to a global selloff. The Dow Jones index
falls 554 points - its biggest single-day point drop. However, as the index has
dramatically grown in size, this amounts to "only" 7.2% of the Dow's overall
value. For the first time curbs - that were instituted after the 1987 crash -
halt trading for 30 minutes after the Dow falls 350 points.
After the Dow falls more than 550 points, trading is halted again for the final
30 minutes of trading.
28 October 1997
The next day, Wall Street leads a global stock rebound. The Dow finishes up 337
points, or 4.7%, at 7,498, its fourth-biggest single-day points gain. NYSE
daily volume tops 1bn shares for the first time, ending the day at 1.2bn
3 April 1998
The Dow rises above 9,000 points early in the session as a surprisingly weak
report on U.S. employment sends interest rates lower.
17 July 1998
New heights are scaled as the Dow closes at 9,337 points.
4 August 1998
The Dow closes 299.43 points down at 8487.31 - then the index's third biggest
one-day points loss.
31 August 1998
Another bad day for Wall Street. The 'bears' are rampant as the Dow Jones drops
to 7,539 - down 512 points or more than 6%. The Dow has now lost 19.2% since its
high in July.
17 March 1999
For the first time the index sails past the 10,000 points mark - but profit
taking in the afternoon drives down share prices and the Dow closes at 9,931
points. The feat is repeated during the following two days, but the index always
closes in the four-digit range.
29 March 1999
"Dow 10,000" - after a surge of 170 points the Dow Jones closes at 10,006.78 -
for the first time above the 10,000 level.
03 May 1999
"Dow 11,000" - up 225 points to close at 11,014. It takes the Dow just over a
month to reach this landmark, the fastest 1,000 points jump. Records tumbled
during April, as the Dow steadily edged towards this new all-time high.
14 January 2000
The Dow peaks at 11,722.98 points.
7 March 2000
After a series of vicious sell-offs, the Dow plunges to the year's low of
9,796.03. In the following months, the index trades in a range of about 10,200
to 11,300 points.
16 March 2000
In days of high volatility, the Dow Jones posts its biggest single day points
gain in history, gaining 499.19 points or just under 5% to close at 10630.60
14 April 2000
Biggest points loss in history, with the Dow shedding 617.78 points or 5.66% to
close at 10305.77
14 March 2001
The Dow plunges below the 10,000 points level again, prompted by an economic
slowdown in the United States, and hefty losses on global technology markets.
11 September 2001
The terrorist attacks on New York halt trading for an unprecedented four days,
with the index stuck at 9,605.
21 September 2001
Fears over the attacks and the impact on the world economy send the Dow down to
8,236 - the lowest point reached in the aftermath of the 11 September.
5 December 2001
A steady rebound from the September lows and new hopes of economic recovery pull
the index back over 10,000 for the first time since the attacks. But a wave of
corporate scandals is already beginning to break.
23 July 2002
The scandals - including infamous energy giant Enron and telecoms firm WorldCom
- shakes the confidence of investors to the core. The Dow falls back below its
post-11 September lows to 7,702 points.
3 October 2006
The Dow Jones industrial average hit its highest level ever level and closes
at 11,727 points. From its 2000 high to its 2002 low, the Dow fell 37.85%. The
Nasdaq Composite Index, containing many volatile technology stocks, plunged
77.93%. To push the Dow to a new high, investors have had to overcome serious
doubts about inflation and the sustainability of economic growth. The Dow's 61%
gain from the closing low of 7286.27 on Oct. 9, 2002, remained below the 85%
average total gain for bull markets since 1900.
The new record for the Dow means that losses have been
recovered but it also means they have made virtually no progress in more than
six years. Of the 30 stocks in the Dow average, only 10 have surpassed their
levels of January 2000.
In general, the biggest fallers since then are the big winners
from the late 1990s. Microsoft remained down 46% since Jan. 14, 2000. Intel was
down 60% and General Motors, was down 59%. After allowing for inflation, the Dow
was still 20% from its old record.