Brett Arends column in the WSJ today is a calm voice in the storm:
This is it. This is what they call “a Triple OhmyGad!”
Say it now. Get it out of your system. Roll up the office window and shout if it will help.
There. Is everyone set? Few things prepare us for the kind of extraordinary developments that took place last night. The collapse of Lehman Brothers. The federal intervention. The sudden takeover, or rescue, of Merrill Lynch. It is tempting at times like this for people to think of developments like the Crash of ’29 and to panic.
But the reality is that the banking sector is not America. Wall Street is not America. Things may turn down for a while and times may get tougher. But life, work and the economy will go on — even without Lehman Brothers. And this is not so new after all.
He’s right of course; life goes on. Lehman will not be missed except by those who work there. What is the impact of the Lehman bankruptcy on the real world?
This is good advice:
There are a few things I know and they are material now. First, the people who stay at the table and don’t make stupid moves here are going to be the ones who make the money in the years ahead.
Probably the best thing you can do today as an investor is…..nothing. If you feel you must do something, my advice is to buy something that is unrelated to the financial turmoil. What does this mean to the biotech or pharmaceutical industry? Not much.
And I love this:
Fourth, most great investors made their money buying in a panic. If this isn’t a panic, I don’t know what is. My old fund management pal Dan Bunting, in London, accumulated a few rules of thumb over 35 years at this game. Among them: “Always buy the market after a spectacular bankruptcy.”
I said yesterday that a few years from now, we’ll be talking about how much money someone made on this mess. Lots of people made their fortunes off the S&L crisis either by buying real estate from the RTC or buying the junk bonds that everyone was dumping.