The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Investing Basics" series, in which Motley Fool contributor and financial planner Dan Caplinger discusses topics from around the investment world.
Today, Dan looks at the Dow Jones Industrial Average to answer a very basic question: What do points in the Dow mean? Unlike stocks, where a "point" is a dollar, the value of Dow points isn't nearly as clear. As Dan describes, stock splits and component replacements over time require changes to what's known as the "Dow divisor" in order to keep the Dow consistent over time. Despite its flaws, the Dow's point system is an easy way for the public at large to track the stock market, and Dan thinks it's worth holding onto.
Unfortunately, Dow points don't reflect another important part of the Dow's returns: dividends. Over time, the Dow's dividend stocks have provided investors with some impressive gains. Find out more from the Fool's brand-new special report: "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." It's absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.