Of the 10 largest companies in the S&P 500 Index in terms of market capitalization in 1992, five still retain that position (ExxonMobil, AT&T, IBM, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble). The other five have been replaced by Apple, Microsoft, Google, Chevron, and Johnson & Johnson.
Mr. Puglia: History will tell you that change occurs and the leadership of the market changes accordingly. It has been very difficult for companies to sustain dominant positions. But it’s much more difficult to sustain leadership in the technology area where companies are subject to shorter product life cycles.
I think it’s noteworthy that IBM has been able to maintain its leadership, and the reason is that it has been strong in services and software rather than being solely subject to product life cycles. It’s also a little easier for companies in staples, such as Procter & Gamble, to maintain leadership over time.
Mr. Berghuis: I was surprised that five of the top 10 are still there. It shows that there is more stability and persistence in our economy and in corporate America than perhaps is commonly perceived.
Our economy is evolving, but that’s not to say that if you invest in a blue chip company today it won’t still be a reasonably vibrant company a generation later if it is well managed.
-- T. Rowe Price Report, Winter 2013
Looking at ETF Database, the other five in 1992 were Wal-Mart, Philip Morris, Coca Cola, Merck, Royal Dutch Petroleum, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Wait that's six. IBM is not in their list.
And they have Pfizer instead of Google in 2012.
Apple appeared on the list in 2009 at #5. Went to #2 in 2010 behind XOM. Then surpassed XOM in 2012.
Checking the ETF Database, I'm surprised how much the top ten changes every year. Three of the top ten changed in 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007. Five of the top 10 from 2006 are no longer in the top 10. And the only stocks to remain in the top ten every year since 2006 are XOM, MSFT, PG.