This is a great question. The Chinese have a saying that in times of ruin, there always is an opportunity. Some American investors have the same sentiment as they say "buy when there is blood on the streets."
Many companies have grown stronger through the recession. Two companies that come to mind are: Apple and Amazon. Concerning Apple, they reached a new high during the recession. They also sought to capture more market share by selling aggressively internationally. So, if the markets were getting soft in America, they were also selling in China. In fact, the Beijing Apple store sold more than the one in Manhattan.
Amazon is another such company. They exploded during the recession through low prices. People who were looking for a deal went to Amazon for their low prices, free shipping, and no taxes. For these reasons, Amazon also hit all time highs in terms of their stock prices.