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The Dow is big, but corporate America is bigger

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Think the Dow Jones industrial average includes the biggest companies in the United States? Think again.

While the index has moved away from its 19th-century roots in the industrial economy, its membership is much more static than the market as a whole. In fact, its membership changes less than once every two years.

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That means there are nearly as many $100-billion (U.S.) market capitalization companies that aren't in the Dow (13) than are (19).

Apple Inc., which until a recent slide had overtaken Exxon Mobil as the most-valuable company in the U.S.? Not a member. Google Inc., and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which rank third and fourth? Not members, either.

The Dow has Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., but it doesn't have Wells Fargo & Co. Inc., which is currently the country's most-valuable bank.

And the Dow has two components that don't even rank among the 100 most-valuable members of the Standard & Poor's 500: Travelers Cos. Inc. at 107 through Monday's trading, and Alcoa Inc., No. 345, with just $8.9-billion in market cap.

Click here to see the 13 companies that have passed $100-billion in market cap but aren't Dow members, with their market-cap rank among S&P 500 members.

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About the Author
Business and investing reporter and columnist

A business journalist since 1994, David Milstead began writing for The Globe and Mail in 2009. During eight years at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colo., he individually or jointly won nine national awards from SABEW, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He has also worked at the Wall Street Journal. More

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