These 10 Facts About the Dow In 2013 Will Blow Your Mind

With 2013 firmly in the rearview mirror, the S&P Dow Jones Indices published the highlights of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) from last year. Here's a selection of the 10 juiciest details, curated by yours truly:

Chart by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

  • The top 5 point gainers accounted for 16% of the Dow's total gains in 2013, compared to 60% from the top 5 gainers in 2012. The report marks this as "an indicator of a broader market/economic recovery," as nearly every Dow stock added significantly to the points tally.

  • Boeing (NYSE: BA  )  alone added 444 points to the Dow in 2013. The 787 Dreamliner overcame its launch problems to become a serious growth driver last year.

  • The biggest loser of Dow points was IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , subtracting just 27 points. Big Blue is implementing a software-and-services strategy under new leadership, and these changes hurt in the short term.

  • Compare and contrast to get the full effect of Dow trends: The biggest gain added 444 points while the worst drop removed only 27.

  • The Dow's 26.5% return in 2013 was the strongest full-year leap since 1995, when the blue-chip index gained 33.5%. It was also the first time the Dow gained more than 25% since 2003 -- a 10-year span.

  • IBM was actually the strongest performer on the Dow in two of the first three months -- and Boeing was the worst Dow stock to own in January. But Boeing then spent five months on top of the heap and IBM five months at the bottom of the barrel, while no other Dow component spent more than two months on either of these lists. IBM and Boeing really wrote the Dow's history in 2013.

  • The Dow passed two 1,000-point milestones in 2013: 15,000 and 16,000. This has happened four other times in the last 20 years, going back to the Dow passing 4,000 and 5,000 in 1995.

  • The Dow traded up in 146 of the 252 trading days last year, yielding 52 record-level closing prices along the way.

  • The big gains in 2013 were built on dozens of small moves, not a few big jumps. The index gained at least 200 points on seven days last year but lost 200 points or more on eight days, leaving most of the heavy lifting to scores of less volatile days.

  • ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) paid out $11 billion in dividends last year, accounting for nearly 9% of the Dow's total payouts. But Exxon investors still have to settle for a middling 2.5% dividend yield, because the $11 billion has to be spread out across the Dow's largest market cap.

The Dow wasn't built in a day
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