What Is the DAX Stock Index?

The DAX—also known as the Deutscher Aktien Index—is a stock index that represents 40 of the largest and most liquid German companies that trade on the Frankfurt Exchange. The prices used to calculate the DAX Index come through Xetra, an electronic trading system. A free-float methodology is used to calculate the index weightings along with a measure of the average trading volume.

The DAX was created in 1988 with a starting index level of 1,163 points. DAX member companies represent roughly 75% of the aggregate market capitalization that trades on the Frankfurt Exchange. The index was historically comprised of 30 companies but was expanded to 40 as of Sept. 3, 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • The DAX is a German blue-chip stock market index that tracks the performance of the 40 largest companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
  • Xetra is an electronic trading system that provides the prices used to calculate the DAX index.
  • The DAX is a prominent benchmark for German and European stocks, listing major companies by liquidity and market capitalization.
  • A few of the globally recognized companies on the DAX include Volkswagen, Bayer, BMW, and Adidas.

Understanding the DAX Stock Index

The DAX index, which tracks 40 large and actively traded German companies, is considered by many analysts to be a gauge for the health of the German economy. The companies listed in the DAX are multinational companies that influence the domestic German economy and the global economy as well. The success of these companies has greatly contributed to what is known as the "German economic miracle" or Wirtschaftswunder, a term that describes Germany's rebirth after World War II.

The companies in the DAX index span a wide range of industries. For example, Bayer AG is a pharmaceutical and consumer health company founded in 1863 and is well-known for its pain and allergy-relief products. Allianz SE is a global financial services company that focuses on providing customers with insurance and asset management products. Adidas AG develops, manufactures, and markets popular athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment.

Special Considerations

In a different twist from most indices, the DAX is updated with futures prices for the next day, even after the main stock exchange has closed. Changes are made on regular review dates, but index members can be removed if they no longer rank in the top 45 largest companies, or added if they break the top 25.

The vast majority of all shares on the Frankfurt Exchange now trade on the all-electronic Xetra system, with a near-95% adoption rate for the stocks of the 30 DAX members.

As a blue-chip stock market index, the DAX is very similar to the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which also tracks large, publicly owned companies.

DAX Member Companies

As of Oct. 11, 2021, the DAX companies included (in alphabetical order):

  • Airbus SE (AIR:GR)
  • Adidas AG (ADS:GR)
  • Allianz SE (ALV:GR)
  • BASF SE (BAS:GR)
  • Bayer AG (BAYN:GR)
  • Beiersdorf AG (BEI:GR)
  • Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW:GR)
  • Brenntag SE (BNR:GR)
  • Continental AG (CON:GR)
  • Covestro AG (1COV:GR)
  • Daimler AG (DAI:GR)
  • Delivery Hero SE (DHER:GE)
  • Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1:GR)
  • Deutsche Bank AG (DBK:GR)
  • Deutsche Post AG (DPW:GR)
  • Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE:GR)
  • E.ON SE (EOAN:GR)
  • Fresenius Medical Care AG & CO KGaA (FME.GR)
  • Fresenius SE &Co KGaA (FRE:GR)
  • HeidelbergCement AG (HEI:GR)
  • HelloFresh SE (HFG:GR)
  • Henkel AG & Co KGaA (HEN3:GR)
  • Infineon Technologies AG (IFX:GR)
  • Linde PLC (LIN:GR)
  • Merck KGaA (MRK:GR)
  • MTU Aero Engines AG (MTX:GR)
  • Muenchener Rueckversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG in Muenchen (MUV2:GR)
  • Porsche Automobil Holding (PAH3:GR)
  • Puma SE (PUM:GR)
  • Qiagen N.V. (QIA:GR)
  • RWE AG (RWE:GR)
  • SAP SE (SAP:GR)
  • Sartorius AG Vz (SRT3:GR)
  • Siemens AG (SIE:GR)
  • Siemens Energy AG (ENR:GR)
  • Siemens Healthineers AG (SHL:GR)
  • Symrise AG (SY1:GR)
  • Vonovia SE (VNA:GR)
  • Volkswagen AG (VOW3:GR)
  • Zalando SE (ZAL:GR)

Other major trading exchanges worldwide include:

  • The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • The Nasdaq
  • The London Stock Exchange (LSE)
  • The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE)