Search


Subscribe to AFM


Subscribe to AllFinancialMatters
by Email

All Financial Matters

Promote Your Page Too

The American's Creed

Site Sponsors

Books I Recommend


AFM in the Media


Money Magazine May 2008

Real Simple March 2008

Blogroll (Daily Reads)

« | Main | »

How The Dow Jones Industrial Average is Calculated

By JLP | December 4, 2006

Have you ever wondered HOW the Dow Jones Industrial Average is calculated? Here’s how!

According to the Dow Jones website, the index is calculated as follows:

The Dow Jones averages are unique in that they are price weighted rather than market capitalization weighted. Their component weightings are therefore affected only by changes in the stocks’ prices, in contrast with other indexes’ weightings that are affected by both price changes and changes in the number of shares outstanding.

When the averages were initially created, their values were calculated by simply adding up the component stocks’ prices and dividing by the number of components. Later, the practice of adjusting the divisor was initiated to smooth out the effects of stock splits and other corporate actions.

According to this weekend’s Barron’s, the current divisors are:

Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average: .12482483
Dow Jones 20 Transportation Average: .20882618
Dow Jones 15 Utilities Average: 1.4646169
Dow Jones 65 Composite Average: .77093357

So, to illustrate the calculation of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, look at the following table:


Ticker
Symbol

Current
Price
(12/02/2006)

AA

30.87

AIG

69.77

AXP

58.55

BA

89.55

C

49.38

CAT

61.19

DD

46.45

DIS

33.09

GE

35.28

GM

29.69

HD

38.97

HON

42.81

HPQ

39.44

IBM

91.25

INTC

20.93

JNJ

65.97

JPM

46.01

KO

46.57

MCD

42.08

MMM

79.98

MO

84

MRK

45.06

MSFT

29.12

PFE

27.86

PG

62.69

T

34

UTX

63.86

VZ

34.64

WMT

45.87

XOM

77.2

TOTAL OF ALL PRICES

1522.13

CURRENT DIVISOR

.12482483

DIVIDE TOTAL BY DIVISOR

12194.13

Pretty cool isn’t it?

You can also calculate how much a particular stock is going to affect the average. For instance, today Pfizer is down 3.19 (at this writing). To find out what kind of impact that particular stock will have on the Average, you simply divide the price change by the divisor (-3.19 ÷ .12482483 = -25.56). So, Pfizer is taking away 25.56 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average so far today. Fortunately, the rest of the components are doing okay, as the Dow is up around 95 points right now.

Now go tell all your friends and family that JLP taught you something interesting today!

Other cool stuff:

History of the Dow Jones Industrial Average components (pdf)

The Chicago Board of Trade on the Dow Divisor.

Topics: Financial Math Basics, How to..., Investing | 10 Comments »


10 Responses to “How The Dow Jones Industrial Average is Calculated”

  1. Matt Says:
    December 4th, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Very cool… learn something new everyday.

  2. Get Rich Slowly » links for 2006-12-05 Says:
    December 5th, 2006 at 8:49 am

    [...] AllFinancialMatters ยป How The Dow Jones Industrial Average is Calculated Something I’ve always wondered. (tags: stocks investments) [...]

  3. Paul Says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Where can I get the current calculation as of the dow jones average – showing the 30 stocks and the the divisor as per your example above.

    Thanks

  4. Yuri Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Thanks! pretty useful and undoubdtedly interesting.
    Cheers

  5. william e drummond Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    where does the “magic” divisor come from? god?

  6. Raj Says:
    April 7th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    The information regarding calculation of DJIA is very helpful to understand the basic concept, but how does DIVISOR is calculated?

  7. Benoit Says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I so relieved I have finally understood the stuff. Thanks alot

  8. Ababneh Says:
    April 17th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    It is good explanation for the calculation of the DJIA, but the benefit will be maximized if you could give an example for the modifications on the constituents of the index, give also the formula of calculation, either the index in general and the divisor in particular.

  9. Timm Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 4:24 am

    The divisor is calculated from the equiation that looks like:

    sum of prices before change / divisor before change = sum of prices after change / divisor after change

    By change I mean any change of components. First divisor was equal to 1.

    The divisor is recalculated when they change the companies list in index. It allows indexes to have no gap in values before and after change.

  10. Ulan Says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    That’s cool…Thanx for the explanation but that Pfizer’s -3.19 is percentage or just points?

Comments