NEW YORK, Fri Sep 14, 2012 – UnitedHealth Group Inc. will replace Kraft Foods Inc. in the Dow Jones industrial average, putting the nation’s largest health insurer in the storied 30-stock index at a time when an aging U.S. population is making healthcare one of the strongest-growing segments of the economy.
UnitedHealth joins pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. among the Dow’s healthcare stocks. Insurance is already represented by Travelers Companies Inc., though UnitedHealth will be the only insurance stock with a healthcare focus.
“We believe it is an industry that needs to be represented in the Dow,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices in New York. On a conference call, Blitzer said the absence of a healthcare insurance stock was “something of an issue” for the committee.