This week and next, TheStreet and RealMoney will be exploring the aftermath of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing and the ensuing market chaos it brought to a head almost a year ago. This story originally appeared Thursday on RealMoney . Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day.
Of all the historical and cataclysmic events that have occurred in U.S. history, I don't believe the Lehman Brothers collapse will ever evoke the "Where were you when?" question that is commonly asked in the years following a major happening.
While it was a monumental event, and perhaps we still can't comprehend its significance, it did not happen overnight, it was not sudden and it was not exactly a shock. Perhaps the lingering surprise we feel one year later is simply due to the lack of some sort of bailout for Lehman given the current atmosphere where seemingly nothing is allowed to fail on its own.
As a value investor I tend to see market events in the context of how they create opportunity. Granted, the Lehman collapse went well beyond the simplicity of an opportunity creator and is in hindsight a frightening event. Perhaps I didn't realize at the time just how close we were to economic collapse.I thought it would be an interesting exercise to go back and see what I was writing about in my RealMoney columns just before and after the Lehman collapse. Perhaps I'd find a hint of fear or a glimpse of emotion regarding the state of affairs leading up to and following the collapse. Not surprisingly, there were few if any hints of any such thoughts. Rather my columns reflected the musings of a dedicated value investor, perhaps oblivious to the significance of what was occurring around him, content to seek and find value in what appeared to be a growing opportunity set. Relative to the markets, the results weren't bad either. Below is a review of the names I featured in columns while Lehman was imploding, along with returns since the date of each column, and the corresponding benchmarks return. (Wherever possible, the benchmark used was an index of which the given company is a member).