NEW YORK — Apple is in. AT&T is out.
In another victory of sorts for the popular and profitable tech giant, Apple will replace AT&T in the venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average on March 19, the manager of the index announced Friday.
The move isn't likely to impact the 30-stock index much and will have no effect on the fortunes of the two companies. But market experts say it does have symbolic importance, sort of like getting an Academy Award — or at least a nomination.
The change cements Apple as "the gold standard of technology," says Daniel Ives, a financial analyst at FBR Research. "They've really become the modern-day Wright Brothers."
The reshuffling of the 119-year-old Dow, a barometer of market fortune and folly once dominated by railroads, also reflects a changed business world.
"It underscores that technology continues to be a critical driver of the overall economy," says Edward Jones analyst Bill Kreher.
Apple is the world's most valuable company. Its market value on the stock exchange, or what it would take to buy all its shares, closed last month above $700 billion — a first for any company.
S&P Dow Jones is casting the move as a sort of a housekeeping maneuver, a way to ensure that the index better reflects the U.S. economy and markets.
The switch is not a reflection of its view of Apple.
"This doesn't mean we like the stock, or don't like the stock, or something like that," says David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones.