Apple Nears 17% of Nasdaq Index on Rally | ETF Trends

The surge in Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) shares has resulted in the stock again growing within the Nasdaq-100 despite an index change last year designed to cut its weight in the tech-heavy benchmark.

Apple, with a market cap of about $475 billion, accounts for nearly 17% of the popular Nasdaq index, which is tracked by the $33 billion PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ).

When a stock’s weighting in a target benchmark grows so large, its moves can have an outsized impact on the index fund or ETF.

In 2011, Nasdaq announced a “special rebalance” of the Nasdaq-100 that would result in Apple’s weight being cut from over 20% to about 12%. [Nasdaq Alters Index After Surge In Apple Shares]

Apple’s share of the index has increased alongside the seemingly unstoppable rally in the stock, which recently broke above $500 for the first time. There is speculation the seller of iPhones and iPads may soon announce a dividend. The revenue machine is sitting on a mountain of cash.

Apple shares are up roughly 26% year to date.

Apple’s headline-grabbing rally has contributed to the 13.2% gain for PowerShares QQQ so far this year, compared with the 7.7% rise in the S&P 500, according to Morningstar.