Facebook, Alphabet shifted in sector classification system

Published: January 12, 2018
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Facebook logo is seen  at a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017.
PHOTO: REUTERS

Facebook logo is seen at a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI said on Thursday they would rename their Telecommunication Services Sector and add Comcast, Netflix, Facebook and Alphabet to the newly broadened category.

In an overhaul of the Global Industry Classification Standard, or GICS, an industry taxonomy widely used by investors, the Telecommunication Services Sector will be expanded and renamed Communication Services, S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI said in a statement.

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The new classification puts Facebook, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet – companies whose explosive growth has helped propel a stock-market rally – alongside traditional telecom players including AT&T and Verizon.

Indexes including the S&P 500 are a guide for trillions of dollars of capital worldwide, including index-tracking, exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Many of those funds track sector-specific indexes and could be affected by the GICS changes.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI said in November 2017 they were planning changes to the categories and that they would be implemented after the close of business on September 28, 2018.

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The updates are meant to reflect changes to industries resulting from technology and acquisitions.

Also moving to the newly named Communications Sector are Twitter and Snap, both currently part of the Information Technology Sector.

Walt Disney and DISH Network, both currently in the Consumer Discretionary Sector, will also join the Communications Sector.

Comcast and Netflix currently fall under the Consumer Discretionary Sector, while Alphabet and Facebook are currently in the Information Technology Sector.

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