Nike, Visa and Goldman Sachs debuted Monday as components of the Dow Jones industrial average, replacing Alcoa, Hewlett-Packard and Bank of America in Wall Street's best known stock market index.

The change, which was effective at the start of Monday's trading session, was the biggest in the closely watched index in nearly 10 years.

S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on Sept. 10 that it was going to shake up the world's most famous stock market gauge.

"The index changes were prompted by the low stock price of the three companies slated for removal and the Index Committee's desire to diversify the sector and industry group representation of the Index," S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a statement.

Nike Inc., one of the world's top athletic shoe, clothing and equipment companies, replaced Alcoa, which had been a DJIA component for 54 years.

Visa Inc., a global payments technology company, replaced the Hewlett-Packard Co., which had joined the exclusive club of 30 "blue chip" stocks in 1997, while Bank of America Corp. was replaced by the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after being part of the index for just five years.

The three components ditched by S&P Dow Jones Indices, which oversees the DJIA and many other leading financial market indexes, had performed poorly in recent years, with Alcoa off 71.4 percent in the past five years, while Bank of America fell 54.6 percent and HP slid 50.7 percent during the same period.

This was the biggest overhaul of the Dow Jones industrial average since April 2004, when American International Group, Pfizer and Verizon replaced AT&T, Eastman Kodak and International Paper in the index.

A number of changes have been made to the DJIA since then, with the most recent coming in 2012, when UnitedHealth Group Inc. replaced Kraft following the spinoff of that company's North American grocery business.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37.64 points, or 0.24 percent, at 15,413.45 in afternoon trading on Monday. EFE