Dow Jones vs S&P 500

Find out the key differences between the Dow Jones and the S&P 500, plus some key points to consider before investing.

See the top company holdings Top holdings for each fund
Dow Jones vs S&P 500 performance Compare historical data

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 are both stock market indices designed to track the performance of markets. The Dow Jones is composed of 30 hand-picked large-cap stocks in the US, while the S&P 500 is 500 large stocks in the US. Both of these indices are selected by committees, with some criteria that a company must fit to be eligible — despite this, these indices are very different in their value, size and diversification.

What’s the difference between the Dow Jones and the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 is a collection of 500 large-cap stocks on US exchanges while the Dow Jones is a collection of just 30 stocks.

Other than the number of stocks, a huge difference between the 3 is the way each index is weighted. The Dow Jones is price-weighted so stocks with higher prices have a larger impact on the whole index. The S&P 500 is a float-adjusted market-cap-weighted index. This means that each company’s size is measured by the stock price multiplied by the total number of outstanding shares and adjusted for a public float. Companies with a higher market cap have a larger impact on the overall index.

List of top 10 stocks from each

Dow Jones

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • UnitedHealth
  • Visa
  • Walmart
  • Procter & Gamble
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Home Depot
  • Chevron

S&P 500

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Amazon
  • Facebook inc A
  • Alphabet Inc A (Google)
  • Apple
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • Visa
  • Procter & Gamble

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Dow Jones vs S&P 500: Which is bigger?

This depends on how you define “bigger”. It could be interpreted to mean the index with the larger number of stocks or the one with a higher market capitalisation, which is the total value of the stocks. When referring to the number of stocks, the S&P 500 is bigger with 500 stocks against the Dow Jones’s 30.

Dow Jones vs S&P 500: Which is worth more?

The S&P 500 has a market capitalisation of $36.7 trillion (about £30.18 trillion). Meanwhile, the Dow Jones has a market cap of $10.35 trillion (about £8.25 trillion). The company with the largest weighting in the Dow Jones is UnitedHealth, which has a market cap of $463 billion (£369 billion). The largest weighting in the S&P 500 is Apple with a market cap of $2.17 trillion (£1.78 trillion).

Dow Jones vs S&P 500: Which is more diversified?

With 500 stocks, the S&P 500 is more diversified than the Dow Jones, which only has 30. However, the Dow Jones does have a good split of stocks across different sectors. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have a large number of stocks in the technology sector.

If you’re looking for diversification and you like the look of the Dow Jones, you could always add another index fund to the mix to get some global diversification.

Dow Jones vs S&P 500 chart

Platforms where you can invest in the Dow Jones and the S&P 500

These trading apps allow you to invest in companies within the indices directly or to invest in funds/ETFs.

What’s the best S&P 500 and Dow Jones index fund?

Here are some of the best-performing S&P 500 and Dow Jones funds according to justETF:

IconFund5-year performanceLink to invest
Vanguard iconVanguard S&P 500 (VUSA)82.76%Invest with FreetradeCapital at risk
iShares iconiShares Core S&P 500 (CSP1)82.94%Invest with eToroCapital at risk
Invesco iconInvesco S&P 500 (SPXP)83.88%Invest with IGCapital at risk
HSBC iconHSBC S&P 500 (HSPX)82.42%Invest with IGCapital at risk
SPDR iconSPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)82.92%Invest with IGCapital at risk
DWS Xtrackers iconXtrackers S&P 500 Swap (XSPX)85.41%Invest with IGCapital at risk
IconFund5-year performanceLink to invest
iShares iconiShares Dow Jones industrial average (CIND)64.21%Invest with eToroCapital at risk
SPDR iconSPDR Dow Jones Global Real Estate ETF (GBRE)9.43%Invest with IGCapital at risk
Lyxor iconLyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJEL)63.93%Invest with IGCapital at risk

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Is it better to invest in the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones?

Zoe Stabler

Finder expert Zoe Stabler answers
As you can see from the chart above, these indices have historically performed very similarly. You’ll notice that the market capitalisation of the S&P 500 is around 3 times that of the Dow Jones despite having more than 16 times the number of stocks on the index.

This means that the Dow Jones is a bit more concentrated. Neither index is better. The one you choose would depend on the stock breakdown you’re interested in. As it’s only got 30 stocks, the Dow Jones wouldn’t create as much diversification as you might be looking for in an investment. The S&P 500 has plenty of diversification available.

What are the top holdings in the Dow Jones and S&P 500?

Dow JonesS&P 500
iconAppleiconApple
iconMicrosofticonMicrosoft
iconJohnson & JohnsoniconAmazon
iconUnitedHealthiconFacebook inc A
iconVisaiconAlphabet Inc A (Google)

How to invest in the Dow Jones and S&P 500

  1. Find an S&P 500 or Dow Jones ETF, index fund or mutual fund. Some index funds track the performance of all stocks on the index while others only track a certain number of stocks or are weighted more towards specific stocks. You should select the fund that best suits your investment goals.
  2. Open a share-trading account. To invest in the funds, you’ll need to open a trading account with a broker or platform. Keep in mind that some index funds may only be available on certain brokerages or platforms. The providers in our comparison table below let you invest in US shares. We’ve listed some index funds below that are listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
  3. Deposit funds. You’ll need to deposit funds into your account to begin trading. Some brokers may charge you deposit fees or you may need to pay a forex fee for your pounds to be converted into US dollars.
  4. Buy the index fund. Once your money has been deposited, you can then buy the index fund. You’ll generally pay a small annual fee to invest in an ETF or index fund.

Best trading platform for index funds: Saxo

Saxo Markets Share Dealing Account
Finder score
★★★★★
Invest now
Capital at risk
We chose Saxo as our top pick because of the following:
  • Invest in over 19,000 stocks, funds and investment trusts.
  • Use its award-winning trading platforms.
  • Customer support is available 24 hours a day.

Need to know: Opening a Saxo share dealing account requires a high minimum investment (£500).

Read our review of Saxo.

Compare S&P 500 and Dow Jones trading platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first

These trading apps allow you to invest in companies within the indices directly or to invest in funds/ETFs.

Name Product Ratings Finder rating Customer rating Min. initial deposit Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fee Offer Link
FREE TRADES
eToro Free Stocks
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
$10
£0
N/A
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
IG Share Dealing
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£250
UK: £8
US: £10
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
UK: £3
US: £0
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
OFFER
Fineco
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£0
UK: £2.95
US: $3.95
EU: €3.95
N/A
£0
Get £500 in trading commissions to use in the first 3 months (T&Cs apply)

Capital at risk

Platform details
Capital.com
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
Not yet rated
£20
£0
£0
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
interactive investor Trading Account
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£0
£7.99 (plus 1 free trade each month)
£3.99
£9.99 per month

Capital at risk

Platform details
Degiro Share Dealing
Finder score
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
★★★★★
User survey
£0.01
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0
N/A
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 are both US indices. They’re made up of stocks selected with basic criteria by a committee. With both indices, you can get access to some large-cap stocks on US stock exchanges. Many of the stocks on the Dow Jones are a part of the S&P 500, so you’d essentially be investing in both, bar a few stocks, by choosing the S&P 500.

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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