The tech-heavy index hasn't been this high in 12 years, but it's tech-bubble days remain the highest heights.
The tech-heavy index hasn't been this high in 12 years, but it's tech-bubble days remain the highest heights. - 
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So here’s a little mystery, Wall Street style. What gives with the NASDAQ? The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are at or near historic highs. But the NASDAQ -- the index that tracks mainly tech stocks -- isn’t reaching the same height.

It’s true the NASDAQ did reach a 12-year high this week. It’s just nowhere near its historic level. And given the stratospheric height it reached during the 1990’s tech bubble,  some analysts think that’s a long time off.

“Whether it’s Intel, or Microsoft, the old school, which used to be the high-flying names, are just sort of stuck in the mud,” says analyst Art Howard with Lazard Capital Markets.

And Apple -- which is so big that its fortunes can sway the entire NASDAQ has seen its shares drop 22 percent this year alone.

Economist Nela Richardson, with Bloomberg Government,  says given high unemployment and sluggish business investment, she questions this whole record setting run-up.

“I think how on earth can this economy support the rally that we are seeing in the financial markets,” she says.

Richardson says from where she sits, the slower-moving NASDAQ seems to be a much more accurate economic barometer.

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Follow Dan Gorenstein at @dmgorenstein