August 31, 2001 10:00 AM

On Thursday, Michael Jackson opened the Nasdaq stock market, which had invited the moonwalker as a way to honor him for his entertainment and humanitarian work. It was also a good way for Jackson, who celebrated his 43rd birthday Wednesday, to plug his upcoming album, “Invincible,” and his Sept. 7 and 10 sold-out concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which are being taped for a CBS special. Wearing a dark suit with a gray armband around his right arm, Jackson looked ever so ill at ease as he toured the Nasdaq market site in Times Square. He waved and blew kisses to onlookers (who included some 200 screaming fans) and chatted with Nasdaq’s Chief Executive Officer Wick Simmons and Executive Vice President David Weild. Shortly after he pushed the opening button, the star was presented with a huge birthday cake and a vintage poster of Shirley Temple. “I’m deeply moved at this very special moment for me,” said Jackson. “Thank you David and Wick and Nasdaq. Thank you so much. I love you and all the fans. Thank you.” His love didn’t exactly translate into help for the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which slumped to April lows on Thursday and is now off about 65% from the highs of March 2000. Nasdaq’s composite index fell another 2.8 percent Thursday. Furthermore, reports the New York Post, Jackson almost didn’t make it to the Nasdaq for his big moment, because he got lost in the adjoining Conde Nast building.

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