Did you know that on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) celebrated it's 119th Birthday? That's right - the DJIA was formed on May 26, 1896. What once started as a minuscule batch of twelve industrial stocks has now grown to a mature thirty. Interestingly, two of the original twelve, Chicago Gas Light & Coke and North American Company, both ended up being part of the current Wisconsin Energy Company (not in the DJIA). The United States Leather Company was the only preferred stock among the original twelve, but it dissolved in 1911. Only one company from the original twelve is still a member of the DJIA to this day. Like a fine bottle of wine, General Electric has improved with age and remained in the DJIA for all 119 years.
On October 4, 1916, the original twelve names expanded to twenty. Twelve years later, on October 1, 1928, this market index grew to its current size of thirty companies. The number of companies has remained constant for the last 87 years, while the composition has seen a fair number of changes. One of the more recent additions to the current thirty (March 2015) is Apple. They were responsible for replacing American Telephone & Telegraph Company - or more simply, AT&T. AT&T had been a member of the DJIA since its expansion to twenty companies in 1916. The fact that companies like Westinghouse Electric, Studebaker, Western Union, and Woolworth have been replaced by the likes of Cisco Systems, Intel, Nike, and Wal-Mart is a reflection of our society and how it has evolved over the years. Just as the Dow has continued to change, we too live in an ever changing world. One thing is for sure - change is here to stay.