Dow Jones Industrial Average Adds Apple

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, will be among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, starting after trading closes on March 18.

The Cupertino, Calif., company will replace telecommunications firm AT&T Inc. on the roster, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Friday.

The rise of Apple to the 119-year-old Dow index, whose components change infrequently, was perhaps as inevitable as such a selection can be. After a breathtaking rise since the mid-2000s, Apple has established itself as perhaps the country’s most prominent corporation of any kind, a perception cemented by its becoming the most valuable public company ever in 2012.

Its inclusion among the country’s blue-chip companies was delayed only because its shares were so expensive that they would have distorted the index. Apple’s 7-for-1 stock split brought its share price closer to the Dow’s median, allowing the technology giant to bump out AT&T, which is still formidable but worth much less than it once was.

About two-thirds of the Dow’s 30 components are still manufacturing companies. The only other technology stock in the Dow is networking firm Cisco Systems Inc. in San Jose.