2021 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average returned 18.65% in 2021. Using a better calculation including dividend reinvestment, the Dow Jones returned 20.94%.

2021 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return: Reinvest Your Dividends

I ran the above calculation for an index purchase at open on January 4th, 2021 and sold at close on December 31, 2021. This is the result if you did all of your investing in the maximum possible span inside 2021.

Alternatively, you might use a one-year holding proxy, where you instead bought the closing index price on December 31, 2020. If you used that date instead and still sold December 31, 2021 your returns would be 18.73% and 20.95%, respectively.

Dow Jones 2021 Index Returns

Price Based On2021 BeginDec 31 CloseReturn
Jan 4 Open30,627.4736,338.3018.646%
Dec 31 Close30,606.4836,338.3018.727%

Dow Jones 2021 Total Return Index Returns

Price Based On2021 BeginDec 31 CloseReturn
Jan 4 Open70,783.5885,602.9020.936%
Dec 31 Close70,778.1085,602.9020.945%

While the exact date doesn't really matter, dividends matter. With the larger, more mature firms in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, ignoring dividend reinvestment would be ignoring around 2.3% of returns from those awesome dividend checks. And even if you didn't choose to reinvest them, unless you discarded or refused the checks you still need to account for the gains.

Investing in the Dow Jones Price-Weighted Stock Index

Most stock indices nowadays are market capitalization weighted, (see the 2021 S&P 500 Return). The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index.

Price-weighted indices derive their index value by taking the trading price of the underlying company shares times some "individual stock factor".

Price weighting is not a great indexing method. However, honestly, it tracks other large cap indexes "fairly" well. For the most part, indices weighted by market capitalization is the superior methodology to track a basket of stocks.

Source on the 2021 Dow Jones Industrial Average Return Calculations

All data is credit Dow Jones Indices, owned by S&P Dow Jones Indices. There they maintain the price index and the calculation to derive the dividend reinvested index.

Historically, here on DQYDJ we have gone pretty far with our content – both in investing, and with some Dow Jones specific posts and tools:

See DJIA returns in other years:

How do you see the Dow Jones Industrial Average performing in 2021?



PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK is in his mid-30s and works and lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two kids, and dog.

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