What is the DAX 40?

The DAX 40, formerly known as the DAX 30 and commonly referred to as the DAX, is Germany’s flagship stock market index. This index serves as a vital indicator of the country’s economic health and corporate performance, offering insights into the trajectory of Germany’s largest publicly traded companies. In this article we take a look at the core aspects of the DAX 40, exploring its origins, calculation methodology, significance, and broader implications.

DAX Origins and Evolution

The origins of the DAX 40 date back to July 1, 1988, when it was introduced by the Frankfurt Stock Exchange↗︎ to provide a reliable benchmark for tracking the performance of Germany’s top-listed companies. Born out of the nation’s economic resurgence and reunification, the DAX 40 emerged as a robust representation of Germany’s corporate landscape.

The DAX 40 is comprised of Germany’s most influential and high-cap companies, which stand as pillars of the nation’s corporate strength. Among these prominent entities are industry giants like SAP, Siemens, Airbus, Porsche, Deutsche Telekom, Allianz, Mercedes-Benz, Merck KGaA, BMW, and Volkswagen. These companies, each a powerhouse in its respective sector, collectively shape the direction and performance of the DAX 40.

DAX Calculation Methodology

The DAX 40 is not merely a collection of numbers; it’s a complex calculation that takes several factors into account:

Market Capitalisation: The index derives its foundation from the market capitalisation of its constituent companies. Market capitalisation is calculated by multiplying a company’s share price by the total number of outstanding shares.

Free Float Adjustment: To ensure accuracy, only the free float market capitalisation is considered. This omits shares held by insiders, governments, or other entities, providing a clearer representation of a company’s influence.

Price Performance: Each company’s share price performance is measured against its own historical performance. This relative performance is a crucial determinant of the company’s impact on the index.

Index Calculation: The index value is calculated using a base value established on December 30, 1987, with a base point of 1,000. Periodic adjustments accommodate shifts in market conditions and company composition.

Significance and Impact

The DAX 40 holds a multi-faceted significance that reverberates through various aspects of the financial markets:

Economic Indicator: As a representative cross-section of Germany’s corporate giants, the DAX 40 provides insights into the overall health of the nation’s economy. Its performance is closely watched by economists, policymakers, and market participants as a gauge of economic trends.

Investment Tool: The DAX 40 guides investment decisions for both institutional and retail investors. Its performance influences trading strategies, asset allocation, and investment sentiment.

International Influence: The DAX’s performance isn’t confined to Germany; it has a substantial impact on global markets. International investors often use it as a proxy for gauging the broader Eurozone economy.

Broader Implications

The DAX 40 transcends its numerical value, shaping the perception of Germany’s economic prowess and corporate resilience. It reflects the culmination of efforts, innovations, and strategies of the nation’s leading companies. Moreover, it highlights the interconnectedness of global financial markets, where the performance of one index can have a cascading effect on others.


The DAX 50 isn’t just an index; it’s a window into the soul of Germany’s economic vitality. Its inception marked a significant moment in the nation’s financial history, and its enduring relevance underscores its importance. Through its intricate calculation methodology, the DAX 40 encapsulates the collective power of its constituent companies, resonating as a cornerstone of the global financial landscape.