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2019 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return

September 6th, 2020 by 
PK

The Dow Jones Industrial Average returned 23.76% in 2019. Using a calculation including dividend reinvestment, the Dow Jones returned 25.34% in 2019.

2019 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return: Reinvest Your Dividends

The numbers above match an index price purchase on open on January 2nd, 2019 and sold at close on December 31, 2019. This is the same as the "year to date" (YTD) return if measured after close on the last trading day of the year.

Alternatively, you can look for a one-year holding proxy. If you bought the closing price on December 31, 2018 the returns would be 22.34% and 25.34%, respectively* (see the note below).

Dow Jones 2019 Index Returns

Price FromPriceDec 31 CloseGain/Loss
Jan 2 Open23058.6128538.4423.76%
Dec 31 Close23327.4628538.4422.34%

Dow Jones 2019 Total Return Index

Price FromPriceDec 31 CloseGain/Loss
Jan 2 Open 51,462.77* 64505.4825.34%
Dec 31 Close 51,462.77* 64505.4825.34%

*The Dow Jones Total Return Index reports the same closing price as the next day open.

The important message? Pick whichever date for an annual return: it doesn't really matter.

Dividends matter. You can see the effects even over a single year; ignoring the compounding effects over a longer period, such as a career, will show entirely wrong (and overly pessimistic) results.

Investing in the Dow Jones Price-Weighted Stock Index

Most stock indices nowadays are weighted by company market capitalization, (see for example the 2019 S&P 500 Return). However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index.

Price-weighted indices derive their actual trading prices by the trading price of the underlying company shares times an individual stock factor.

Price weighting is not a great indexing method. I'm not knocking it; it was perfect for its time. Price-weighting plus limiting the DJIA to only 30 stocks were reasonable steps to take when the Dow Jones Industrial Average began – in 1896.

Other sites take an even more pessimistic view... I won't. The DJIA actually tracks most large cap indices well.

Source on the 2019 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return Calculations

Data is sourced from the Dow Jones Industrial Average Total Return Index, owned by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Need more Dow Jones? We have some tools which help your research on the history of the index.

See DJIA returns in other years:

How do you see the Dow Jones Industrial Average performing in 2020?

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