As bubble talk brews following the Nasdaq's climb above 5,000, the head of the electronic exchange said this time is different—and the milestone is much more than just a nice round number.
According to Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld, the benchmark's climb to a 15-year peak represents the maturity of the "new economy" first ushered in during the days of the dotcom bubble amid the transition from manufacturing to services. Moreover, one key sector could stand out as a leader going forward, he added.
"It means really that you see… the new economy which we talked about 15 years ago has really become the economy," Greifeld said in an interview on CNBC's "Fast Money" this week.
Greifeld said the index acts as a barometer of how the larger economy is doing. "When you look at the Nasdaq composite, these are the companies that have driven our economic growth and are best positioned to drive the economy going forward."
While some on Wall Street have brought up the notion that technology stocks could be reaching bubble levels, Greifeld said that the euphoria of the dotcom boom has transformed into real earnings power built on strong fundamentals.
"You have to look at the earnings multiple first and foremost," Greifeld said. "If we had the same multiple (as 2000) we'd be at Nasdaq 30,000 today, not Nasdaq 5,000," he said. "So it's a different set of circumstances."