The Dow closed at an all-time high on Tuesday. The S&P 500 Index looks to be close behind. And then there's the Nasdaq.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, dominated by sexy corporate names such as Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Microsoft, Intel (INTC) and Cisco (CSCO), reached its highest point in a dozen years on Tuesday.

But it's still 36 percent below its all-time high of March 10, 2000, when it peaked at 5,048.62. On Tuesday it closed at 3,224.13.

"The Nasdaq has really lagged the Dow and the S&P," said Jeffrey Elfont, president of Walnut Creek-based Pinnacle Capital Management. "The Nasdaq just has not recovered" from its severe decline in 2000 and 2001.

Much of the problem arises from the dot-com meltdown, which savaged the Nasdaq disproportionately.

"You had the dot-com bubble, you had people day trading, you had a lot of exuberance and money going into tech stocks," said Sandra Wales, president of San Jose-based Wales Investments. "It was all based on technical effects. None of it was based on fundamentals."

Analysts also point to current difficulties involving a huge component of the Nasdaq, Cupertino-based Apple.

"Apple is a drag on the Nasdaq," said Chris Giordano, principal owner of Los Gatos-based Giordano Wealth Management. "The performance of Apple's stock is horrible."

While Apple jumped 2.6 percent to finish at $431.14 on Tuesday, that came off an overall declining trend. On Monday, Apple's stock plunged to a fresh 52-week low of $419, or 40.3 percent below the all-time high for Apple, $702.10, achieved in September.

"The sell-off from the dot-com bubble really hit the Nasdaq in a huge way," said Richard Welty, principal owner of Lafayette-based Welty Capital Management. "The Dow really doesn't have many tech companies in it. And the S&P 500 has a much smaller weighting of tech companies than the Nasdaq."

Plus, so many companies that made up the Nasdaq in 2000 at the height of the dot-com bubble simply vanished. And so many others that remain, such as Intel, Microsoft and Cisco, are now trading at fractions of their peak prices.

Some Nasdaq companies did hit all-times highs on Tuesday, however.

Mountain View-based Google closed at $838.60, Mountain View-based Intuit (INTU) closed at $67.88 and San Jose-based Adobe (ADBE) finished at $41.46. All those were record high closes.

Despite all that, the Nasdaq could be a long, long time away from reclaiming its former glory.

"It could be 20 years, a generation, before the Nasdaq gets back to an all-time high," Welty said.

Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.