US Markets

Why this is not your daddy's Nasdaq 5,000

Nasdaq 5,000 different now. Here's why
Nasdaq 5,000 different now. Here's why

With the Nasdaq Composite Index hitting the magical 5,000 level for the first time in 15 years, it's important to remember how much has changed since then. Other than the optical 5,000 number, these two levels have very little in common with each other.

First off, most of the biggest components are not even the same. Of the top 10 weighted stocks in 2000, only three of them still remain in that group. Apple is in a league of its own, while Microsoft has steadily remained the second-heaviest company in the group. Intel and Cisco, darlings of the 1990s, are still in the top 10, but nowhere near as important as they used to be. Google, Amazon and Facebook were not the household names they are today.

Furthermore, that 70 percent turnover doesn't just apply to the top 10 stocks but basically throughout the entire index. Looking through the Nasdaq 100 index, which tracks the biggest companies in the index, the same number shines again. This year's Nasdaq 100 membership is 70 percent different than it was back in 2000.

Finally, let's not forget about inflation. Everybody knows that a dollar today doesn't buy you the same thing as it did many years ago. If we apply that same logic to the index, we can easily see that 5,000 points in 2015 isn't the same thing as 5,000 points back in 2000. In fact, if the index had to match its 2000 high on an inflation-adjusted basis, it would need to approach 7,000, a level we aren't anywhere close to reaching.

So be careful when getting overexcited about the new-and-shiny 2015 version of Nasdaq 5000. It's not at all what it used to be.