You might hear about the Dow a lot, but odds are, you're not entirely aware of which companies make up the Dow -- more formally known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Many people don't realize it, but the Dow is merely an average based on the stock prices of 30 companies. Out of thousands and thousands of existing companies, just 30 make up the Dow. Here's the current list:
Johnson & Johnson
MinnesotaMining & Manufacturing(3M)
Procter & Gamble
The list could change at any time, but it doesn't change too often. The last time it changed was actually fairly recently -- in April 2004 -- and Bill Mann recapped the switcheroos. The list above may remain correct for years.
You can invest in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that are based on many different indexes, such as the Dow. Learn more in our Mutual Fund area, and zero in on our index fund information there. You can learn more about investing in stocks in our Investing Basics area.