NEW YORK: The three companies dropped as of April 8 from the Dow Jones Industrial Average reacted publicly with what could be called a calculated shrug.
Iconic corporations AT&T, Eastman Kodak, and International Paper (IP) slipped off the widely followed 30-company stock performance barometer, replaced by Pfizer, American International Group (AIG), and Verizon Communications.
Dow Jones periodically alters the mix of companies to better reflect the overall economy. This change seems to signal the rise of financial services and healthcare. The DJIA last changed the company mix in 1999.
Being dropped could be seen as a PR blow, but some observers say the importance of being included is not what it once was.
E-mail newsletter Fierce Finance wrote, "Dow Jones can still generate some licensing revenue, and the industrial is a great PR tool. But the importance of the index peaked long ago."
Two of the dropped companies quickly released statements, and all three downplayed the average's importance.
"We don't think it's going to have any effect on us at all," said John Byrnes, head of corporate communications for AT&T.
Byrnes said AT&T chairman David Dorman sent a letter to employees shortly after the DJIA's announcement "telling them not to be distracted." And the company issued a statement on April 1 that heralded itself as "one of the world's leading communications companies" and played up its Fortune 40 revenue of $34.5 billion last year.
Eastman Kodak was the one dropped company that didn't issue a statement. "Membership in any stock index has no bearing on our ability to manage the company for profitable growth," Gerard Meuchner, the photo company's director of corporate media relations, told PRWeek.
IP also dismissed the effect of the DJIA on its plans. "The composition of the DJIA has no bearing on [our] continuing focus on adding value for our customers," it said in a statement.
IP did not respond to requests for further comment.