The stock market

Dear Editor, The DJIA was started in 1896 with 12 stocks; it now has 30. The major US stock indexes, i.e., the NYSE, Nasdaq, American, and OTCBB now include 5,121 stocks (http://www.barchart.com/stocks/momentum.php). I was not able to find how many US stocks there were in 1896, but the Nasdaq, American, and OTCBB exchanges did not then exist, so it’s many fewer than now. I suggest that references to the “stock market,” e.g., “the market was up 100 points today,” or “the market was up 2% today,” be made to the S&P 500 index, not the DJIA. The S&P 500 index contains about 85% of the US stock market capitalization. It is a much better proxy for the US stock market than the DJIA which, IMO, is a relic that would not exist today if not for its historical cache. Cheers, Thomas McGovern

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