The Nasdaq Composite Index broke through its 15-year-old record on Thursday. Higher oil prices and solid earnings reports contributed to the rise.
The index gained 0.42 percent, or just over 20 points on Thursday, to close at an all-time high of 5,056. It means the Nasdaq has now made up the nearly 4,000 points it lost after its previous high during the height of the dotcom boom on March 10, 2000.
Higher oil prices pushed up energy stocks by 0.6 percent. Strong earnings from telecoms bellwether AT&T, up 4.2 percent to $34.23, and eBay, up 3.8 percent to $58.89, helped offset lackluster US economic data. Apple and Google also helped propel the Nasdaq to its new high.
The index is up 353 percent from its October 2002 low, when the technology bubble burst.
"It has the potential to go up, absent some external event that I can't predict." Walter Price, senior portfolio manager and managing director of the AllianzGI Global Technology fund in San Francisco told the Reuters news agency.
He pointed out that unlike in the early 2000s, companies are generally not overvalued nor are share prices inflated. In 2000, "a lot of the high-growth companies were selling at 200 or 300 times next year's earnings," he said. "This is nothing like that. This is a whole different world versus 2000."
The Nasdaq used to be dominated by technology companies. Today, biotechnology and consumer services firms make up a large share of the index.
ng/uhe (Reuters, AP, AFP)