Nasdaq hits 5000, McDonald's new boss and Apple Pay at risk

The Nasdaq (^IXIC) did it! The tech-heavy index has hit 5000 again, 15 years after it first passed the milestone. It remains to be seen whether or not it will close above the key level today. Regardless, we wanted to know just what got us here after fifteen years of churning higher.

“This is all about the consumer and the internet,” says Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke, “For every Pets.com, for every ridiculous knockoff retailer you can answer all the arguments about those crazy bubble days with one stock and that’s Amazon (AMZN).”

Macke also says giants like Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) played an equally valuable role in the growth of the internet which played out in bottom lines across several tech companies that got the Nasdaq to where it is today.

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“The Nasdaq today is really just a slightly spicier, ‘growthier’ version of the broad stock market,” Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli says, noting that after the 2000 dot-com bubble popped it has traded in line with other major indices. Still, he says, 5000 is “a logical place to pause.”

What makes this 5000 different from the one fifteen years ago, says Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer, is that there have been “15 more years of economic activity and growth which means it’s a more realistic price, the 5000, than it was 15 years ago.”

Apple Pay scam
A surprise to no one: Apple (AAPL) Pay is vulnerable to hackers. The Guardian reported that criminals are stealing users’ identities and purchasing high value goods on someone else’s dime.

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To be fair, the weakness in the system is not Apple’s but rather the banks that approve their customers’ requests to use their accounts with Apple Pay. According to the original Guardian report, the crooks “are setting up new iPhones with stolen personal information, and then calling banks to “provision” the victim’s card on the phone to use it to buy goods.

Apple’s own retail stores are reportedly a common source for the crime given the fact that they sell high-priced goods and of course accept Apple Pay.

Could the lack of security derail not just Apple but all mobile payment technology? Probably not but, as Serwer notes, “It is a huge problem that is getting worse.”

He fears stories like this are just the beginning as paying with your mobile phone – from Apple Pay to Google (GOOGL) Wallet to the Starbucks (SBUX) app and Venmo – becomes more common.

McDonald’s new CEO
McDonald’s (MCD) has a new CEO. Stephen Easterbrook officially took the reigns over the weekend and many are anticipating some changes aimed at reversing the fortunes of the golden arches.

“He’s not a guy who is ascending to the top of this iconic brand… and saying ‘things are great we’re going to keep it the way they are,’” Santoli says, adding he believes Esterbrook is open to changes to the menu aimed at competing with newer fast food rivals like Chipotle (CMG) and Shake Shack (SHAK).

Related: 10 ways to ‘fix’ McDonald’s (if it needs fixing, that is)

That could mean good news for shareholders, as Santoli believes “Wall Street loves the idea of a new face running the show who is actually looking to catalyze some kind of change.”

Change or not, Andy Serwer says the drama unfolding is a familiar one. “First it was chicken, KFC (YUM) and Boston Market, pizza, Chinese food, every three, four, five, ten years [people say] someone is going to knock McDonald’s out. No one has yet.

But key to continued success for McDonald’s is appealing to Millennials who seem to want healthier options. Chipotle for example, has marketed itself as the healthier alternative. Whether it’s true or not is debatable, but they have had success touting the brand as such.

Can McDonald’s do the same? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @YahooFinance.

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