The Dow Jones Industrial Average, comprised of 12 ‘smokestack’ companies, made its debut May 26, 1896. Twelve years earlier, Mr. Dow’s initial stock average, containing 11 stocks (nine of which were railroad issues) appeared in Customer’s Afternoon Letter, a daily two-page financial news bulletin that was the precursor of The Wall Street Journal.
May 26, 1896: The Average consisted entirely of industrial stocks published for the first time. (The first average computed from this list of stocks was 40.94. It declined gradually during June and July and on August 8, 1896 stood at 28.48 which is the lowest point on record for the industrial average.)
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