The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is reported on daily by every major finance and media platform - a testament to its importance and relevance in global financial markets.
The market benchmark has a rich history embedded alongside America’s rise as a global superpower in the 20th century, and, as Visual Capitalis's Aran Ali details below, the inflows and outflows of companies on the 30 stock index coincide with broader secular trends. For example, the delisting of many industrial stocks over time encapsulates America’s transition towards a service-based economy. Meanwhile, the addition of tech companies in the last few decades paints a similar picture of change.
Today’s infographic looks at Dow data spanning over nine decades, all the way back to the tail end of the Roaring Twenties.
Crank Up The Volatility
An increasingly competitive and accelerating business landscape results in greater churn for stock market indices.
In fact, in the 92 years of activity visualized for the DJIA, there were 93 changes in its composition. This is not surprising, as the average duration of a company’s tenure on American indices has been trending down for decades—that said, 63% of Dow changes occurred in the second half of the 92 year sample period.
The current iteration of the DJIA includes some long-serving constituents, with the average length of companies in the index sitting at 20 years. General Electric was the last standing member of the original group from 1928, but in 2018, they were replaced by Walgreens.
2020 has also brought with it some fresh faces, including three changes so far. They include Salesforce for ExxonMobil, Amgen for Pfizer, and Honeywell International for United Technologies. Here’s a full list of the current companies in the index:
Although all the stocks in the DJIA are intended to be in line with broader economic trends, the similarities end there. For some DJIA stocks, 2020 has brought growth and opportunity—for others, quite the opposite.
YTD stock price performances range vastly from a high of 55% to a low of -49%. Perhaps it serves as no surprise that the best performing companies serve in the tech space like Apple, Microsoft, and Salesforce, while the worst performing are the likes of Boeing and Chevron.
A Sign of the Times
The three changes in 2020 can best be described as modernizing the Dow.
The delistings include businesses in industries such as Aerospace & Defense and Big Pharma. But the most monumental exit? ExxonMobil, which was once the biggest company by market capitalization in America.
Their fall from grace best symbolizes the state and direction the world is headed towards.