My Frumpy Stock Index

The NASDAQ Composite is once again poised to cross the psychologically important 3000 mark, but as an older, wiser and arguably frumpier version of its former self.

The Wall Street Journal

When I first met NASDAQ–God, has it been twelve years already?–she was really something to behold. Slim, confident–and boy did she have legs! She was still in her twenties, I was a decade older, but thoroughly smitten.

She was stacked like an IBM server, her decolletage enhanced by ruffles of froofy tech stocks across her neckline. She wasn’t at all like the other stock indexes. Not stodgy like the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, and at the same time not frivolous and insubstantial like the Russell 2000 small-cap index. She was, in Goldilockian terms, j-u-u-st right.

We were, to steal a line from Bob Seger, young and restless and bored. That’s why we got caught up in the internet boom, and that’s why we both fell–hard–when that bubble burst, just after we had crossed the border into unknown territory, and experienced the incredible high of 3,000!

“I can’t believe I bought!”

Who could have foreseen then, back when investors would cut off “elevator” speeches after ten seconds, turning them into “dumbwaiter” speeches–that it would all be over so soon? We took the “Last Tango in Paris” approach to stock-picking; the less we knew about a company, the more enticing it seemed.

“Please–no audited financial statements!”

How could we have known that–the only website that promised to analyze your production of lint without navel-gazing and remind you when it was time to vacuum using their proprietary handheld LintBuster! body vac–was based on a fundamentally flawed business model; people just don’t care how much lint they’ve got down there!

We retrenched, cut back. We started printing stock reports on both sides of the paper, moved off the front page of the business section to the back where we didn’t have to put on such a show. We stopped keeping up with the Dow.

We’re both older and wiser and poised to cross that 3,000 point line of demarcation once again–a bit more cautiously this time. Yes, NASDAQ is frumpy now, like Mary Astor or Margaret Dumont in an old black-and-white movie.

She stopped shopping at Chicos and *gulp* I find this hard to say, but is now wearing–Talbots!


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