The DAX index measures the stock performance of the 30 largest companies that trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Because of its relatively limited scope, it is not generally used as an indicator for the German economy as a whole, but is a useful index to see how the country’s most notable companies are performing.
This page will take you through a brief history of the DAX, explain how the companies that it tracks are selected, and give you information about how you can invest in the index.
The DAX index’s base date is the 30th December 1987, and when the index began it started at a base level of 1,000 index points. From its inception it has incorporated two versions that differ in terms of whether dividends are counted: the performance index (which includes dividends) and the price index (which doesn’t). Out of the two of these, the performance index is the one that has been most commonly used.
After starting from 1,000 index points, the DAX first went over the 12,000 mark in 2015. To date it’s record high at the time of closing is 13,783.89, which was reached on February 17th 2020. After this date, the DAX saw a steep fall as the coronavirus pandemic affected economies the world over, falling as far as 8441.71 on March 18th before starting to rise again.
The DAX index is designed to track the 30 largest companies by market capitalisation and book value listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It only lists businesses that are part of the exchange’s Prime Standard (the companies that comply with the most stringent transparency rules), and stocks tracked by the DAX include globally-renowned names such as BMW and Deutsche Bank.
The most straightforward way to invest in the DAX index is with a financial instrument called an exchange-traded fund (ETF). ETFs allow you to make an investment that tracks the performance of an index, but leaves you able to trade your investment on an exchange any time you choose to do so.
Other options for investing in the DAX include mutual funds and simply buying shares in all 30 companies whose stocks the index tracks, but ETFs have become increasingly popular because of the mixture of diversification and flexibility they offer investors.