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Thursday, September 18, 2008

AIG Booted out of the DOW

NEW YORK ( -- Big Insurance is out. Big Food is in.

American International Group, the beleaguered insurance giant, will no longer be a part of the Dow Jones industrial average starting next week.

Dow Jones & Company, which oversees the 30-stock index, said that Kraft Foods (KFT, Fortune 500) will take AIG's place.

The move, which will take effect on Sept. 22, comes just two days after the Federal Reserve said it would lend as much as $85 billion to rescue the crumbling insurer.

Fearing a bankruptcy by the insurer and an ensuing global financial crisis, federal regulators threw AIG a lifeline late Tuesday.

Like many of its Wall Street peers, AIG bet big on the on the subprime mortgage market and subsequently got burned. Over the past three quarters, the New York City-based company has lost more than $18 billion.

AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) shares have suffered as a result. The company's stock has lost more than 96% of their value since the start of the year.

In that regard, Thursday's decision by Dow Jones to remove AIG makes sense. While the 29 other index components have suffered alongside the insurer, AIG has helped dragged the Dow further into bear territory.

The last change to the index was made in February when Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and oil giant Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) replaced Altria Group (MO, Fortune 500) and Honeywell International (HON, Fortune 500).

AIG, which has been part of the index since April of 2004, saw its shares gain more than 3% in midday trading Thursday