The Nasdaq cracked the 10,000-point mark for the first time Tuesday before cooling off to close at 9,953.75, a gain of 29.1 points for the day.
Over the past year, the tech-heavy index has climbed 33%, far outpacing economic growth and downright contradicting the bleak picture of unemployment and collapse over the past three months.
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and many other major tech stocks rose Tuesday and have posted year-to-date gains despite the serious blow COVID-19 has dealt to a broader economy that had already been overextended. Industries like travel, hospitality, restaurants and retail have been devastated and tens of millions of jobs have quickly disappeared.
The tech sector, apart from some retail, manufacturing and advertising issues during the pullback, has largely thrived. Some companies like Amazon and Zoom Video Communications have largely been viewed as essential during the pandemic, while entertainment firms like Netflix or privately held Epic Games have seen a flood of consumer interest.
The milestone, of course, attained a political dimension. Even before it passed 10,000, the index’s all-time high was noted (in all-caps, with an exclamation point) by President Donald Trump. Democratic presidential opponent Joe Biden responded, “13 million people who had jobs when you took office are unemployed today.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is made up of stocks drawn from industries like airlines, automakers and others hit hard by the pandemic, dropped about 1% Tuesday but has rallied of late. The Dow remains under water for 2020 to date after coming close to the 30,000-point mark in February, up from about 20,000 in early 2017.
The Nasdaq was famously exposed to the tech bubble that popped in late-1999 and early-2000 when a range of Internet 1.0 companies received sky-high valuations on little evidence of financial sustainability. After peaking close to 4,000, the index took more than a decade to regain that level. Powered by companies dominating social media, web search, streaming and other areas that have defined business and society in recent years, the Nasdaq has more than tripled in value since 2013.