As Apple Falls at Nasdaq, Microsoft and Oracle Rise

Nasdaq OMX Group’s rebalancing of its Nasdaq-100 Index, designed to sharply reduce the weight of one component -- Apple -- significantly raises the component percentages of four other tech giants: Microsoft, Oracle, Intel and Cisco Systems.

On May 2, when the changes are scheduled to take place, Apple’s slice of the index will be reduced to 12.33% from the current 20.49%, according to a . Microsoft, with its market capitalization of $214.7 billion, rises at the same time to 8.32% of the index from the current 3.41%, while Oracle moves to 6.68% from 3.32%. Intel, meanwhile, will account for 4.2% of the index, up from 1.75%, while Cisco rises to 3.66% from 1.56%.

Bloomberg News, which noted that this is the first major reshuffling since 1998 for the Nasdaq-100, calculated that Apple’s weight in the current index is six times that of Microsoft, the second-largest component, although Apple’s market value is just 46% bigger. In 1998 Apple’s market cap was $2.1 billion. Today, it is $314.3 billion.

According to a Bloomberg calculation, Apple's surge over the past three years reflects a near trebling of its share price, although its total market-cap is down a bit of late, from its $334.5-billion peak in mid-February.

After stories about the readjustment of the index swirled yesterday, Nasdaq OMX gave details of the move today, noting that the “special rebalance will not change the methodology” used in its calculations. It said the changes, enacted to reflect shares as of March 31, were made after “substantial research and consideration” about ways to bring the weighing of component securities “closer in line with their actual market capitalizations.”

The goal is for the index to be an objective, transparent and rules-based index, “comprised of the same large-cap growth companies that have a legacy of leadership and innovation." The index -- launched in 1985, and re-ranked each December -- is made up of the 100 largest non-financial stocks listed on the Nasdaq exchange, and serves as a benchmark for various financial products, including options, futures and funds. The re-ranking is part of the “quadruple witch expiration Friday” in the fourth quarter. Nasdaq boasts that the Nasdaq 100 has returned about 1771% since 1985.