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This Day In Market History: IBM Replaces Chrysler In The Dow

Wayne Duggan

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 39 years ago, IBM (NYSE: IBM) replaced Chrysler in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Where The Market Was

The Dow closed at 841.98. The S&P 500 traded at around 102.91. Today, the Dow is trading at 24,438.87 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,734.83.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1979, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, or ESPN, launched. Federal Reserve interest rates finished the year at 15.25 percent. The average cost of a new house was $58,100.

Symbolic Dow Shift

In June of 1979, the Dow dropped American auto giant Chrysler, which had been struggling in a difficult auto market. Replacing Chrysler with IBM was a symbolic acknowledgement that technology, not industry, was the future of the U.S. economy.

The Dow is still still shifting away from its industrial roots, dropping General Electric Co (NYSE: GE) just this month.

Surprisingly, IBM has been a major market laggard in the nearly three decades since it was added to the Dow. Since July 1, 1979, IBM's stock is up 661 percent compared to a 2,800 percent gain for the Dow over that same period.

Of course, IBM fared much better than Chrysler, which declared bankruptcy in 2009. In 2011, Fiat took over ownership of Chrysler, and the stock now trades as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU).

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The Original Dow Jones Industrial Average: Where Are They Now?

What DJIA Changes Mean For GE, Walgreens Investors

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