Charles Dow

1884 – Dow Jones publishes its first stock average. It includes nine railroad companies and two industrial stocks.

In 1884 – Dow had compiled a list of nine railroad and two industrial stocks (among the companies were Western Union, the Union Pacific, the New York Central and the Louisville & Nashville railroads) and divided their prices by 11 to produce a stock market average. The average was first published on July 3, 1884 . Dow received complaints that the average was not representative of the overall market, so he refined his list, in 1885, 1886 and again in 1894. In 1896, The Journal published the first industrial stock average of 12 stocks, including General Electric, American Tobacco and American Sugar. The list would later be expanded to 20 stocks in 1916 and 30 stocks in 1928. Since that time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has remained the best-known barometer of the market’s performance, and today it also includes non-industrial companies.

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