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The Dow is a group of 30 big corporations, nearly all of them household names, and its dips and jumps during the trading day reflect changes in their share prices. Its exclusive roster runs from American Express to Walt Disney. Other indexes, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500, open their doors to many more companies, providing a better overall picture of the market’s performance. The Dow may not be the best measure, but the oldest index remains the best-known shorthand for the stock market.



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