On March 10, 2000, the Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) reached its all time closing high of 5048.62.

It was a Friday afternoon and the financial  media was abuzz with the news.

Unfortunately, the milestone was relatively short lived as the Nasdaq soon after began a steep descent that saw its value decline by 50% within a year and bottom out on October 10, 2002, with an intra-day low of 1108.

Today the Nasdaq stands at 4675 and so, fourteen years later is back to within 8% of its all time record.

Now that the correction is over, we have returned to seeing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA)  and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) reaching new, record highs on an almost-daily basis.  As the situation becomes more routine, people are beginning to wonder whether the Nasdaq will return to its 2000 record high.

Many investors are afraid to think about the Nasdaq’s returning to its record high level.  Once the quantitative easing program began to send the stock market to record highs for the first time after the financial crisis, we were warned of valuation bubbles and the risk of another dot-com-style crash.  As a result, for those who suffer from post-dotcom stress disorder, the very idea that the Nasdaq could return to such levels is seen as a bad thing rather than a good thing.

As the Nasdaq climbs higher, one cannot avoid wondering how long it will take the tech-heavy index to reach new record highs.  After all, the big momentum stocks are usually Nasdaq stocks.

In addressing the question of whether the Nasdaq could return to its record highs, it becomes necessary to distinguish between the Nasdaq 100 and the Nasdaq Composite.  The Nasdaq Composite is just not the same animal it was back in 2000.  In those days, the Nasdaq Composite was comprised of over 4,700 stocks.

Today, there are only 2,565 stocks which comprise the Nasdaq Composite.  Accordingly, some analysts argue that it makes little sense to compare the 2000 version of the Nasdaq Composite to the present-day version.  On the other hand, the Nasdaq 100 is the index upon which the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF is based.  The QQQ ETF was also in existence back in 2000.  True to its name, the Nasdaq 100 has always been comprised of only 100 stocks.  As a result, it makes more sense to focus our inquiry on the Nasdaq 100.

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