There's little doubt financial news providers are partying right now.
Apple (AAPL) in the Dow. C'mon!
Can we get a graphic of the Apple Watch ticking up towards Dow 20,000 in the bottom right corner right now?
There's little doubt savvy investing crowd is feeling a little bit smug underneath all the eye-rolling. The amateur's index adding the stock everyone knows just confirms everything they've been preaching.
Lots of very smart people I know are going to be lambasting the "financial media" for going overboard on this index change, even those who are themselves in the financial media.
I'd argue that everyone making these coverage decisions agrees that the S&P 500 is a better proxy for the market than the Dow is. I'd also argue that they know Apple gets disproportionate attention, even for a company with a $745 billion market cap.
So, for me, the more interesting question is why every outlet succumbs to the hype.
For the continued reliance on the Dow, there's never been a push for the S&P 500 to be a barometer for the market in a more popular sense. And now, with McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) the majority owner of both the SPX and DJIA via S&P Dow Jones Indices (along with CME Group (CME) and Dow Jones & Co. parent News Corp. (NWSA)), it makes little sense to challenge one flagship product with another.
As of Apple, the media is yet to find a limit to the appetite for Apple coverage. Even with subscription site like Real Money, catering to more sophisticated investors, any headline with Apple in it just dominates traffic. I'm betting it's the same across a lot of different properties, from WSJ.com to USA Today's business coverage.
The Dow is the people's index and Apple is, if there is one, the people's stock.
Both of these reasons are part of the lesson quickly learned by editors and investors: Don't fight the market.
Editors and journalists make decisions every day on what's "not a story." If they're honest, that decision is a mix of experience, education, prejudice and gut instinct. And there are battles about this in newsrooms all the time. But often, the market decides and the decision is taken out of editorial hands.
The market (those who consume the news) deems an event too newsworthy not to be newsworthy. (How this happens is even more curious. Car chases happen every day, but does a quantum theory apply, and a white Ford Bronco behaves differently when on TV? Is the sharing medium of Tumblr more the message than a debate on the color of a dress?)
It's not a new phenomenon. Newspapers in the '20s would've run pictures of escaped llamas. But it's in overdrive without any of the time or space constraints of print.
So, just as investors avoid fighting the trend, journalist worry about fighting the #trending.
By the way, it's perfectly possible that Reuters ran this piece Monday purely to get a headline with "Apple" and "Dow" in it just for the SEO benefits.
But anyone who read it and did some more homework might have caught a good entry point this week.