KoreaHeadlines like the growing conflict with North Korea, a renewed Cold War with Russia and the chance that France will elect a right-wing nationalist as president have many investors on edge.

In such times, it’s worth asking: do I need to take sizable steps to protect my portfolio in the event that things truly get out of hand?

But unless your personal fear index is skyrocketing, the likely answer, based on history, is no.

When it comes to major events like war, terrorism and even presidential assassinations, stock markets have proven to be remarkably resilient, assuming of course that these events don’t led to a massive hit to the economy.

In fact, stocks have held up well even when the U.S. and many other countries were arguably in bigger trouble than they are now.

In a piece written for Bloomberg View, financial writer Ben Carlson writes that from the start of World War I in 1914 until it ended in late 1918, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 43% in total, or around 8.7 percent annually.

The Dow rose almost 10% in the first day of trading after Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, writes Carlson, the director of institutional research with Ritholtz Asset Management. “When the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor occurred in early December 1941, stocks opened up the following Monday down 2.9%, but it only took a month to regain those losses,” adds Carlson.” From the start of World War II in 1939 until it ended in late 1945, the Dow was up a total of 50%, more than 7% per year.”

He also points out that stocks gained value during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Most of us remember how resilient the U.S. stock market was in the months after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Though stocks fell hard in the two weeks following the surprise attacks in Washington and New York, the major U.S. stock indexes had made back all of those losses and even gained ground by year’s end.

Source:  John Kimelman, Barron’s