(AGI) New York, March 18 - Apple will officially replace AT&Tin the Dow Jones indices after the close of trading on March18. The telecom giant has been part of the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage since 1915. Only in 2004 did AT&T temporarily leave theindex due to the merger with SBC Communications. The fact thatthe biggest U.S. company by market capitalisation enters theDow Jones has a strong symbolic value: a company linked to theworld of traditional telephony is replaced by one that standsfor telecommunications in the third millennium. "This is a signof the times, and it might get everyone to look at the Dow morethan they have been," said Richard Sichel, head investor of thePhiladelphia Trust. "It would be difficult to pick any 30companies that would cover the entire economy, especiallycompared with the S&P 500, but it does give the Dow morecredibility." Apple has a market value of 737 billion dollars,about twice as much as what on Thursday will become thesecond-largest Dow Jones company: the oil company Exxon. Applewill have a relative weight of just 4.66 percent on the indexdue to the high price of its shares (127 dollars at close onTuesday). The company actually owes a lot of its success toAT&T, which was Apple's exclusive partner when the companylaunched the first iPhone in 2007. Since then, annual sales ofApple have grown seven-fold (from 24.6 billion to 182.8 billiondollars), against AT&T's mere 11 percent.. .