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Expand chart
Data: SentimenTrader; Chart: Axios Visuals

An index measuring optimism in the Nasdaq 100 rose on Friday to its highest level since just before the dot-com bubble burst.

What's happening: The three-month average of SentimenTrader's Nasdaq Optimism Index is at the highest level since 2000 and its 30-day average is at one of the highest levels ever.

  • Further, the number of media stories mentioning the word "bubble" has risen to the highest level since April 2000, SentimenTrader's data shows.

What it means: The Optimism Index (Optix) for ETFs is based on...

  • Trading activity in put options versus call options.
  • Future volatility expectations.
  • Average discount of the fund to its net asset value.
  • Price behavior.

How it works: "Each measure is ranked against its historical norms to determine whether or not the current level is at an extreme, then totaled to come up with an overall score," the company's Troy Bombardia tells Axios in an email.

  • "The Optix can go from 0 (maximum pessimism) to 100 (maximum optimism)."

What they're saying: "The similarities between today and the dot-com bubble are stacking up," Bombardia said on Twitter.

  • "History tells us that this is a dangerous time to be full-bore bullish. Such extreme sentiment often led to large pullbacks & corrections. Monitor this risk closely in the weeks ahead."

But, but, but: "Unlike almost every other sector, the tech sector has actually benefitted from COVID-19 as it has increased the role that technology plays in the lives of many people," Pat Keon, senior research analyst at Lipper Refinitiv, said in a note.

  • "The coronavirus has forced large swaths of corporate America to work remotely and pushed shopping habits even more online and further away from brick-and-mortar stores."
  • "These changes have further emphasized the importance of technology in the day-to-day routines in the modern world."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data reversed again in the last week, with data continuing to show a slow but recovering economy that is having trouble returning to its pre-pandemic strength.

What happened: The index was unexpectedly weaker given solid data on U.S. retail sales and the massive outperformance of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.