Market Extra: The Nasdaq just hit 9,000 for the first time, but index’s biggest winners aren’t the usual tech suspects

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One of the U.S. stock markets best performing indexes reached a new psychologically significant mark on Thursday, as the major indexes head to year end with the best gains in years.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.66%, hit 9,000 for the first time ever on Thursday.

Its recent climb reflects gains for growth stocks, including Microsoft MSFT, +0.62%  and Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.59%, which have helped to buoy the broader market also.

The Nasdaq climbed to 8,000 at the close on Aug. 27, 2018 and gains from some of the tech behemoths have helped the index to generate a return of 35.7% so far this year.

Shares of Microsoft have gained more than 44% since August of 2018, while those for Apple Inc. have gained 32.4% over the same period.

If the Nasdaq finishes above 9,000 on Thursday, it will have taken 335 trading days to gain a 1,000 points.

However, the Nasdaq’s rally also benefited from a number of stocks that aren’t always associated with the stock benchmark’s outperformance.

Nasdaq Composite Milestone 1st close at level Nasdaq closing level # of trading days to next milestone (from 1st close)
1000 July, 7, 1995 1005.89 6,171
2000 July 16, 1998 2000.56 758
3000 Nov. 3, 1999 3208.51 329
4000 Dec. 29, 1999 4041.46 38
5000 March 9, 2000 5046.86 49
6000 April 25, 2017 6025.49 4,308
7000 Jan 2, 2018 7006.90 174
8000 Aug. 27, 2018 8017.90 164
9000 ? ? 335 (so far)
Source: Dow Jones Market Data

Indeed, the tech-related companies comprising the so-called FAANG group, including Facebook FB, +1.17%, Apple AAPL, +1.59%, AMZN, +3.99%, Netflix NFLX, +0.15% and Google-parent Alphabet GOOGL, +1.35%, have performed relatively poorly since the Nasdaq last gained 1,000 points.

For example, shares of Facebook are up about 16.6%, but those for are down 4.2% since late August of 2018, and Netflix’s stock is down 8.7% over the past 16 months, while Class A shares of Alphabet are up a comparatively meager 7.7%.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.22% is up more than 22% thus far this year, gaining 9.64% since late August of 2018, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.37%   boasts a year-to-date advance of about 29% and about 11.6% over the past 16 months.

Although, the ascent for the Nasdaq underscores an advance of some trendy tech names, a few of the best performers arguably lie outside of the traditional FAANG cohort, and include some microchip companies and a decidedly non-tech name: Lululemon Athletica LULU, +1.40%.

Shares of Lululemon have soared more than 68% since last August and those for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, -0.33% have climbed about 83%, NXP Semiconductors NXPI, -0.64% shares rose 39%, while Apple supplier Lam Research LRCX, +0.05% has seen its stock up 66.5% during the period.