How Stocks Do During Geopolitical Events

It was a volatile night for the U.S.-Iran conflict.

S&P 500 Index futures dipped 1.5% and global markets swung after Iran shot several ballistic missiles at U.S.-Iraqi military bases. Markets recovered their losses overnight on news that there were no American casualties, but tensions remain high in the Middle East.

As concerns over the Iran conflict continue to build, we’ve received many questions asking what this could mean for the market outlook. We discussed our initial thoughts regarding the conflict in our January 6 blog, but we believe it is important for investors to remember that there have been many times historically when stocks stood strong in times of conflict. In fact, the best ever annual Dow Jones Industrial Average gain was in 1915 during World War I.

“No doubt worries over Iran have investors on edge,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Stocks could be volatile for a while, but the impact to stocks from geopolitical events historically has tended to be short-lived.”

As our LPL Chart of the Day shows, the S&P 500 fell 5% on average in 20 major geopolitical events dating back to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. However, the S&P 500 recovered those losses in fewer than 50 calendar days on average.

A special thanks to Sam Stovall of CFRA for sharing the data below with LPL Research.


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