The Most Obscure Stock Index Ever?

by Todd Shriber

There are plenty of wild ideas for stock indexes out there, but this one may take the cake: The Dow Jones Summer/Winter Games Index. Yes, that’s right. An index has been formed to track companies that are corporate sponsors of the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

Believe it or not, this index has been around for a while. Dow Jones says it was initially calculated on Dec. 6, 2007. And until Tuesday, the Dow Jones Summer/Winter Games Index was home to 37 stocks, seven more than are found in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Prepare to welcome Olympic index member 38: General Mills (GIS), the second-largest U.S. food company. Big G’s Nature Valley brand will be the official cereal snack bar supplier to the London games, Dow Jones said in a statement. Dow Jones said the index is reviewed quarterly and General Mills was added as part of the September. No members were deleted.

With a median market value of $14.6 billion, the Olympic index isn’t home to a bunch of no-name companies. In fact, six Dow components are found among the index’s top holdings. Those are Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG), General Electric (GE), McDonald’s (MCD), Cisco (CSCO) and General Mills rival Kraft (KFT).

Since indexes aren’t securities that can be purchased, perhaps the biggest question surrounding the Dow Jones Summer/Winter Games Index isn’t why it even exists, but why hasn’t an ETF been created to track it? After all, ETF issuers love the obscure.

*Disclosure: Writer is long General Mills.

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