Historical Returns – Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7th, 1941: “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”- President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The attack on Pearl Harbor ranks high in historical significance. On the Monday following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, markets plunged, as President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. It was one of the most vulnerable times for the U.S. economy. The eventual recovery from that dark time is a telling proof of the spirit of investors, who have proved resilient enough to weather the many crises the United States has faced over time.

How did we recover? What happened next?

The stock market sold off in the immediate period after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. secured a naval victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May of 1942, a major win against the Imperial Japanese Navy. Following the victory, investors gained confidence that the U.S. victory would be close at hand. Unfortunately, Japan didn’t surrender until September 2nd, 1945. Still, U.S. stocks continued to rally, gaining more than 130 percent in a four-year stretch.


Source: Bloomberg. Date Range: 9/30/1941 – 12/31/1941. The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. One cannot invest directly in an index.


Source: Bloomberg. Date Range: 6/1/1940 – 12/31/1945. The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. One cannot invest directly in an index.