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How to invest in the Dow Jones

Buy stocks or ETFs that track the 30 largest blue-chip companies.

Updated

Fact checked
Dow Jones stock exchange

What is the Dow Jones?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as the Dow, is a stock market index that tracks 30 of the largest blue-chip companies on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. The index was founded in 1896 by Charles Dow and Edward Jones, who also created the Dow Jones Transportation Average. It’s a price-weighted index that acts as a barometer for the US economy. The Dow is maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indexes and is the second-oldest US market index, second only to the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

How to invest in the Dow Jones

There are two ways to invest in the Dow Jones: stocks and ETFs.

Purchasing stocks allows you to pick and choose which companies you’d like to support. You could buy one share in each of the 30 companies in the Dow or select a few stocks. Stocks offer a targeted investment opportunity and tend to have greater profit potential but have one major downside: limited exposure. Many of the stocks in the Dow are worth hundreds of dollars, so it can be expensive to invest.

If it’s broad market exposure you’re interested in, consider investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs are a less expensive way to gain exposure to the market, as these funds track the entire index. ETFs tend to be more stable than individual stocks but come with fees that typically range from 0.03% to 2.5%.

Before you can swap stocks or ETFs, you’ll need a brokerage account. Here’s a breakdown of the investment process:

  1. Open a brokerage account. There’s no shortage of online brokerages, so vet your options carefully, taking fees, research tools and investor feedback into account.
  2. Deposit funds. Once you’ve set up an account, you’ll need to deposit funds before you can begin trading.
  3. Select your securities. Use your platform’s research tools to narrow down stock and ETF options.
  4. Monitor your investments. Log in to your brokerage account to track your investments.

What ETFs track the Dow Jones?

  • SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA)
  • iShares Dow Jones US ETF (IYY)
  • ProShares Ultra Dow30 (DDM)
  • ProShares UltraPro Dow30 (UDOW)
  • ELEMENTS Dogs of the Dow (DOD)

What stocks are in the Dow Jones?

CompanyExchangeStock codeIndustry
3MNYSENYSE: MMMConglomerate
American ExpressNYSENYSE: AXPFinancial services
Apple IncNasdaqAAPLInformation technology
BoeingNYSENYSE: BAAerospace and arms
Caterpillar IncNYSENYSE: CATConstruction and mining
Chevron CorporationNYSENYSE: CVXPetroleum industry
Cisco SystemsNasdaqCSCOInformation technology
The Coca-Cola CompanyNYSENYSE: KOFood industry
Dow IncNYSENYSE: DOWChemical industry
ExxonMobilNYSENYSE: XOMPetroleum industry
Goldman SachsNYSENYSE: GSFinancial services
The Home DepotNYSENYSE: HDRetailing
IBMNYSENYSE: IBMInformation technology
IntelNasdaqINTCInformation technology
Johnson & JohnsonNYSENYSE: JNJPharmaceuticals
JPMorgan ChaseNYSENYSE: JPMFinancial services
McDonald’sNYSENYSE: MCDFood industry
Merck & CoNYSENYSE: MRKPharmaceuticals
MicrosoftNasdaqMSFTInformation technology
NikeNYSENYSE: NKEApparel
PfizerNYSENYSE: PFEPharmaceuticals
Procter & GambleNYSENYSE: PGConsumer
The Travelers CompaniesNYSENYSE: TRVFinancial services
UnitedHealth GroupNYSENYSE: UNHManaged health care
United TechnologiesNYSENYSE: UTXConglomerate
VerizonNYSENYSE: VZTelecommunication
Visa IncNYSENYSE: VFinancial services
WalmartNYSENYSE: WMTRetailing
Walgreens Boots AllianceNasdaqWBARetailing
The Walt Disney CompanyNYSENYSE: DISBroadcasting and entertainment

Compare platforms for trading the Dow Jones

Invest in the Dow Jones by signing up for a brokerage account with any of the following platforms:

Name Product Stock trade fee Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee
Vanguard
$0
Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Forex
$1
$20 per year
Get a personal advisor when you open an account with at least $50,000.
Robinhood
$0
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
0%
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, Index funds, ETFs, Futures, Cash
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
Sofi Invest
$0
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
TD Ameritrade
$0
or $25 broker-assisted
Stocks
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
Tastyworks
$0
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Futures
Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
0%
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Why should I invest in the Dow Jones?

The Dow tracks 30 of the largest and most profitable publicly traded companies in the US. These companies are hugely successful and as a result, tend to offer stable earnings. Individually buying into the Dow’s tracked stocks is expensive, but ETFs offer simplified, broad market exposure with a single purchase. The Dow Jones is designed to act as a barometer for the US economy, so investing in this index serves as an opportunity for investors to keep their finger on the pulse of the market.

What are the risks of investing in the Dow Jones?

No index is foolproof and no investment is risk free. The Dow Jones is one of the most reputable indexes on the market, but there are drawbacks to consider before you invest.

It’s primary drawback is that it’s limited. Sure, the 30 companies it tracks are among the most successful on the market — but compare this to the 500 companies tracked by the S&P 500 or the 3,000 companies tracked by the Russell 3000, and the Dow Jones begins to look more restrictive than most.

Financial experts argue that the Dow Jones fails to account for the small- to mid-cap stocks that represent an important aspect of the US economy. One way to combat this shortcoming is to invest in indexes that focus on smaller companies, like the Russell 2000.

How is the Dow Jones performing?

Use the graph below to explore the historical performance of the Dow.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

As one of the oldest indexes on the market, the Dow Jones may be a sensible investment option for those looking to invest in well-established blue-chip companies. But whether or not the Dow is a prudent choice for your portfolio depends on your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Explore your brokerage account options on different trading platforms to find the account best suited to your needs.

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