RealTime IT News

An Era Ends

Nothing changes faster than technology, and nothing drives that point home more than Thursday's news that AT&T and Eastman Kodak , components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since the 1930s, are being dropped from the index.

Along with International Paper - apparently no one uses paper any more - Thursday's announcements were about the venerable Dow's efforts to keep pace with the times.

Taking their place April 8 will be insurance giant AIG , pharmaceutical giant Pfizer , and Verizon - the second of Ma Bell's offspring to join the Dow, after SBC's addition in 1999.

Dow Jones, which oversees the Dow, has always been somewhat slow to recognize change, but still, the expulsion of AT&T , once the ultimate "safe" stock, with roots going back to Alexander Graham Bell, is something of a shocker, even though it's been a long time coming.

The editors at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal say they have no strict criteria for selecting stocks for the DJIA - just that the stocks be established U.S companies that are leaders in their industries - but they're rarely wrong. In the 107-year history of the Dow, only one stock - asbestos maker Johns Manville - went bankrupt. That's a pretty good record, and one reason the Dow remains relevant to this day. You're not likely to find an Enron - once the number seven company in the Fortune 500 - in the Dow.

So time marches on, and perhaps some day, Ma Bell will rejoin the Dow - after she is acquired by one of her offspring.

The broader market rose Thursday on a better than expected national manufacturing report. Traders were also optimistic ahead of Friday's unemployment report.

The Nasdaq gained 20 to 2015, the S&P 500 rose 5 to 1132, and the Dow climbed 15 to 10,373. Volume rose to 1.54 billion shares on the NYSE, but declined to 1.85 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-11 on the NYSE, and 19-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 69% on the NYSE, and 73% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 313-8 on the NYSE, and 180-15 on the Nasdaq.

After the close, Silicon Image raised guidance, and Kana warned.

During the day, Manugistics plunged 17% after missing estimates.

Ericsson - which, at 128 years old, is a year older than AT&T - surged 7% after raising guidance.

eBay rose 4% to a new all-time high after Bear Stearns raised estimates.

Oracle climbed 2% after taking its takeover case to the EU.

CA gained 3% on a new CFO.

Ariba slipped on an acquisition, while Level 3 was unchanged on a dial-up acquisition.

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