Some interesting facts about the Dow (from Dow Jones Global Index Group):
- When Charles Dow created the Dow Jones industrial average, first published on May 26, 1896, it consisted of a dozen stocks.
- Only one of the original 12, General Electric, is in the average today. And even GE dropped out for a while, deleted in 1898 but back nine years later as a replacement for Tennessee Coal & Iron.
- Several companies in the 1896 average are ancestors of firms active today. American Tobacco was broken up in 1911 but was the progenitor of such companies as Fortune Brands and R.J. ReynoldsTobacco. Distilling & Cattle Feeding Co. became Distilling Co. of America, and later Millennium Chemical. American Sugar evolved into Amstar Holdings, which sold its sugar business to Britain's Tate & Lyle PLC and eventually became part of Sweden's Assa Abloy.
- Over the years, the number of components included in the average has increased from 12 to 20 to 30 as the U.S. economy has expanded. The Dow's focus has shifted from agricultural products and basic materials such as coal, iron, lead, rubber and leather to technology companies, financial-service providers, manufacturers and retailers.