Mar 19, 2020 - Economy & Business

The market is not quite as bad as the Dow makes it look

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

One high-profile group of stocks has been doing particularly badly during the coronavirus crisis — the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The state of play: The Dow stocks are down 33% over the past month, compared with a 30% decline for the S&P 500, and a 24% drop for the more tech-focused Nasdaq. On up days and down days the Dow has generally underperformed the market as a whole.

Why it matters: The Dow is often the first indicator that Americans look to when they want to understand what's happening in the stock market. But the Dow companies represent only a small minority of U.S. stock-market capitalization.

  • The Dow is an average rather than an index, which means companies with higher share prices have outsized influence on its moves.
  • In particular, Boeing has weighed heavily on the Dow.

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Thank Boeing for sending the Dow into bear territory

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The broad U.S. stock market was not (quite) in an official bear market as of the close of trade on Wednesday — but the Dow Jones Industrial Average was. Thank Boeing for that.

By the numbers: Boeing's share price has fallen from $440 in March last year to $162 in early trade on Thursday. That's a drop of $278 per share.

Stocks sink 4% as Dow closes in bear market

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Wednesday, with the Dow closing in bear market territory — or 20% below the record high hit in February.

Why it matters: The Dow's steep drop ends one major index's record 11-year stretch without a 20% decline, as Wall Street grapples with just how bad the coronavirus will be for the global economy. The S&P 500 is about 30 points away from hitting bear market territory.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stocks drop 4% to end worst week since 2008

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Friday, with the S&P 500 shedding 4.3%, the Dow dropping 4.6% (or 927 points), and the Nasdaq falling 3.7%.

Why it matters: It caps a bruising week for Wall Street — you'd have to go back to 2008 to see worse losses — as the coronavirus outbreak forces more of the world's biggest economies to shut down.