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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) along with S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite indices is one of the most widely quoted benchmark indices in the world which is considered to be a barometer of the US economic status.
The index tracks the performance of 30 large publicly traded companies (or blue chips) based in the United States using price-weighted average metric. Companies, included in the index are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ. Only stocks of companies which has the excellent reputation, demonstrate sustained growth and are of interest to a large number of investors are added into the index. The "Industrial" portion of name reflects the initial composition of the index, that was originally founded to gauge the performance of the industrial sector within the American economy. Since its foundation, index composition changed 51 times and nowadays most of its components are not related with traditional heavy industry while covering all economic sectors except transportation and utilities. However some companies, like General Electric, ExxonMobil or Procter & Gamble remain unchanged elements of the index for decades.
Currently DJIA includes such well-known international companies as Apple, Microsoft, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney and others. Due to the global nature of business of its components, Dow Jones Industrial Average is influenced by foreign political events, natural disasters and other international factors what makes it an indicator of world economy health.
The base value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 40.94 was firstly calculated on May 26, 1896 by Charles Dow. Historical maximum of 18312.39 was reached on May 19, 2015, while all-time low of 41.2 was recorded in July of 1932, at the time of Great Depression. The most recent considerable fall of the index occurred during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 that started on September, 2008 with the immediate loss of 300 points, and ended-up on March 9, 2009 at a new 12-year low of 6,547.05.