Getting Back to Lehman

by: Bespoke Investment Group

Many investors look at the market now in terms of "before Lehman" and "after Lehman," which was the day that Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and shook markets to their core in the following months. Below we highlight the performance of the three most widely followed US market indices (S&P 500, Dow 30, Nasdaq) along with the S&P 500 Financial sector and S&P 1500 Homebuilder group since their last close before the Lehman collapse.

The Nasdaq was the first of the three major indices to get above pre-Lehman levels, and that happened a few months ago. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are now extremely close as well. The Dow now needs less than 200 points to get to pre-Lehman (11,421.99), while the S&P 500 needs about 36 points (+2.94%).

The homebuilder group has come charging back in recent weeks, and it too is now very close to its pre-Lehman level. At one point in 2009, the S&P 1500 Homebuilder group was down 58.5% from its close on 9/12/08. It is now down just 3.54%.

But while the homebuilders are getting close, the financials still have quite a bit of work to do. The S&P 500 Financial sector is still down 20% since the Lehman collapse, but given all the dilution that took place in the sector as companies raised additional equity in 2009, the fact that it is even that close is impressive.

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