A:

Dow Jones, or more precisely "Dow Jones & Company", is one of the largest business and financial news companies in the world. The firm was founded in 1896 by Charles Dow, Edward T. Jones and Charles Bergstresser. In 1889 they founded The Wall Street Journal, which remains one of the most influential financial publications.

It is easy to confuse Dow Jones with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Often referred to as "the Dow", the DJIA is one of the most watched stock indexes in the world, containing companies like General Electric, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Exxon. Dow Jones (the company) owns the Dow Jones Industrial Average as well as many other indexes that represent different sectors of the economy.

In the world of finance, you'll often hear people ask, "How did New York do today?" or "How did the market perform today?" In both cases, these people are likely referring to the DJIA as it is the most widely used index, above both the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index.

To find out how the Dow is calculated, see Calculating the Dow Jones Industrial Average. For more background on stock indexes in general, see our index investing tutorial.

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