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What does it mean when the Dow is up 100 points?

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Being able to say, "The Dow was up 100 points," instead of, "The stocks of the companies in the Dow gained $784,356,102.001, give or take a few thousandths," tended to be much less unwieldy. With indexes, the points still represent dollars, but the ratio is not 1:1. A point is just a whole number in the index value.
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