I think a case can be made for the NDX, the Nasdaq 100 Index, being the 'real' American stock index -- i.e., the index reflecting the 'real' strength of the Aemrican economy, American ingenuity, and America's future -- and for the Bear Market in which we are currently enmeshed having clearly begun in 2001.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average -- industrial? -- is hardly a measure of American industry any longer. Look at the components of the DJI Index: American Express, Bank of America, Cisco Systems, Disney, Home Depot, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, JP Morgan, Miscrosoft...where are the industrials here? In attempting to be broad enough to be used as a metaphor for the whole market, it is so board and unfocused it represents nothing really.
The NDX highlights the most creative and muscular American companies in the world today -- and America's future it could be argued. This index shows pretty clearly the Bear Market in which we are currently embroiled, which began in 2001, and is scheduled to end in 2019.
Looking at the NDX chart below (quarterly): Note the Bear Market rally still has a LONG WAY to go to make a new high, even with the rather impressive bear market rally since March 09. Still, the index desperately needs to make a new high (2092.6 is resistance) in order to turn this bearish pattern into some a bit more bullish. The index is at overbought levels (2nd pane below, M2F alt -- so there will be more pressure to the downside now.
The NDX is composed of the following veritable all stars and homerun hitters, a line-up that represents America's business hope for the future. JNJ and MMM are pretty pedestrian at this point, compared with Apple Computer and Amazon.
Disclosure: Author owns none of the stocks mentioned in this article.