UnitedHealth Group, the health insurance company, will replace Kraft Foods in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most widely known barometer of the American stock market.
The change will take effect at the start of trading Sept. 24. The change is meant to reflect the growing importance of health care spending in the U.S. economy.
The change will not affect the level of the Dow, which ended Thursday at a four-year high and is closing in on a record. The formula used to calculate the Dow is recalibrated for each stock added and dropped.
The last change to the Dow was in June 2009, when Cisco Systems, the technology company, and Travelers, another insurer, were added, replacing General Motors and Citigroup.
S&P Dow Jones Indices which manages the Dow, said that the change was prompted by Kraft’s plan to spin off its North American grocery business in October.
Kraft was added to the Dow in September 2008, when it replaced the crippled insurer AIG.