Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

It's Official: Google and Facebook Are Communications Companies

  • Netflix, Comcast will also be reclassified as communications
  • Alibaba, eBay to move from tech to consumer discretionary

It was expected for months, now it’s real. Index overseers have changed their opinion of which industries some of the stock market’s shiniest stars belong to.

Facebook Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. will leave the biggest industry classification, information technology, and join communications, a category set to replace telecom by merging existing phone companies with some Internet and media stocks. S&P Global Inc. and MSCI Inc. disclosed the moves in a statement.

The new group will also include Netflix Inc., TripAdvisor Inc., Comcast Corp. and Naspers Ltd. In another winnowing of tech, Alibaba Group and eBay Inc. will be reclassified as consumer discretionary.

The moves were previewed when index providers announced in November one of their biggest overhauls in years. Formally an attempt by S&P and MSCI to match stock-market sectors to the evolving economy, the plan’s biggest implications are for exchange-traded funds, which may be forced to buy and sell shares to mimic the changes. According to a December estimate from Credit Suisse Group AG, 26 ETFs with assets exceeding $60 billion will be affected.

S&P and MSCI said they will announce a full list of affected stocks on July 2, a month earlier than originally planed. Changes are scheduled to take effect after the close of Sept. 28.

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