The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), created by Charles Dow in 1896, is one of the oldest U.S. market indexes. It is commonly referred to as “the Dow” and stands alongside the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite as one of the three main indexes tracking U.S. equities, despite being smaller in size–it’s comprised of 30 blue-chip stocks–and price-weighted as opposed to cap-weighted. Those differences, however, do not keep the Dow from being used by many investors as a proxy for the health of the broader U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index comprised of 30 blue-chip stocks.
The Dow has underperformed the S&P 500 over the past year.
DIA is the best (and only) ETF tracking the Dow.
DIA’s top holdings are UnitedHealth Group Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Home Depot Inc.

Investors seeking to capitalize on the Dow without buying individual stocks may consider investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF). These funds hold baskets of securities in order to provide efficiency and portfolio diversity, a key ingredient for reducing risk.

The Dow posted a total return of 30.7% in the 12 months leading up to Aug. 11, 2021, which is less than the total return of 35.5% delivered by the S&P 500 over the same time frame. Currently, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) is the only non-leveraged and non-inverse ETF that tracks the Dow. We examine this ETF below in closer detail. All figures are as of Aug. 11, 2021.

Performance over One-Year: 30.4%
Expense Ratio: 0.16%
Annual Dividend Yield: 1.57%
Three-Month Average Daily Volume: 3,838,628
Assets Under Management: $30.8 billion
Inception Date: Jan. 14, 1998
Issuer: State Street

DIA is the ETF for investors seeking to replicate the performance of the Dow, which tracks the stocks of some of the largest companies in the U.S. economy. The fund may not be as diversified as most ETFs because it holds just 30 stocks, but these stocks belong to companies with strong fundamentals and finances. These factors give them greater capability than most companies to weather extremely adverse economic and market events.

While these stocks are relatively safe, their fast-growth days are largely behind them. Many investors choose Dow companies for their defensive qualities and reliable dividend payouts, rather than explosive capital appreciation potential, with DIA remaining a popular choice for investors looking for relatively safe exposure to large-cap U.S. equities.Below, we’ll look at the top 10 holdings for DIA.

Top DIA Holdings
Company Name (Ticker)
Percentage of DIA Assets
Company Description
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH)
Health insurance
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)
Investment bank
Home Depot Inc. (HD)
Home improvement retailer
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
Software, cloud services, and devices such as gaming consoles
Visa Inc. (V) (class A shares)
Credit card services
McDonald’s Corp. (MCD)
Fast food restaurants chain Inc. (CRM)
Cloud-based enterprise software
Amgen Inc. (AMGN)
Biotechnology company
Honeywell International Inc. (HON)
Aerospace, building and performance technologies, and safety solutions
Boeing Co. (BA)
Aerospace and telecommunications manufacturer

The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. While we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described in our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.

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