Up or Down, PR Drives The Dow

Dow Jones Industrials Average graph in The New York TimesA great feat in public relations is to create a deeply penetrating brand that is accepted broadly and perpetuates unquestioned credibility for its creator.  Is there a better PR brand than the Dow Jones Industrial Average?

We are all obsessed with “The Dow” right now although few of us know what it is or why it is so important. DJIA – The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an index of 30 “Blue Chip” stocks that are supposed to be an indicator of the broader stock market (thousands of stocks). “The Dow” is broadcast across the world, transcending geography, language barriers and market highs and lows. Even rival media companies, such as The New York Times (above, left)  post “The Dow” on its home page. PR doesn’t get better than that.

May 26, 1896 Dow Jones published its first “Industrial” average, DJIA, consisting of 12 stocks closing at 40.94. DJIA is occasionally re-jiggered to reflect our changing economic landscape. Manufacturing companies in DJIA such as U.S. Steel have been replaced by tech companies such as Microsoft. Standard & Poors, Wilshire, and Russell all have stock indexes that are broader, more specific, and, many investment professionals would argue, more accurate indicators of trends in the stock market. But none are more recognized or accepted as DJIA, which has become synonymous with “the market.” That’s a big reason why Rupert Murdoch was obsessed with acquiring Dow Jones and its media properties Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and MarketWatch.

See What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average? from How Stuff Works - includes video on stocks currently in the DJIA.

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