- Last Updated: 10:45 PM, March 3, 2012
- Posted: 10:45 PM, March 3, 2012
Talk about a “leap week rally.” In a week in which Americans enjoyed a quadrennial “leap day” and the sitcom episodes (“30 Rock,” “Modern Family”) that revolved around it, investors enjoyed the festivities on Wall Street, where two of the most-watched stock market averages on the planet took a leap of their own.
The Dow, which closed above 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since the spring of 2008, grabbed all the headlines, but the Nasdaq’s intra-day run past the 3,000 mark deserves extra notice.
Yes, although the tech-heavy index is still 2,000 points below its high of 5,048 set back in the dot-com bubble year of 2000, the Nasdaq is off to its best year since 1991.
What’s more, the 15 percent gain for the index is double that of the Standard & Poor’s 500. Nasdaq bears — and there are many — discount the run to 3K, noting much of the recent zip has been propelled by shares of Apple, the most heavily weighted stock in the index at 11 percent.
In fact, Apple has found its way into the top holdings of so many hedge-fund managers of late that Zero Hedge joked that the company should start charging 2 & 20 (the typical hedge fund fees) for the privilege of owning its shares.
But Apple is just part of the Nasdaq 3,000 story. Microsoft, which is the second-most heavily weighted stock in the index, is also having a spectacular year, with its stock up 23 percent in 2012.
Indeed, time, not Apple, may be the best thing the Nasdaq has going for it right now. Unlike the Dow, which looks to be on its way to making its third top since the turn of the millennium, the Nasdaq has been in a full-blown bear market for 12 years. As market maven Mark Hulbert notes, “No bear market in US history has been as awful as the Nasdaq since 2000.”
So get ready for the Nasdaq 3,000 headlines.
When the Nasdaq first closed above that benchmark back in November 1999, it took less than two months for it to vault to 4,000 and beyond. This time, the ascent should be slower, and it might even stick.