Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.
What Happened? On this day in 1945, Germany surrendered, ending World War II in Europe.
Where The Market Was: The Dow finished the day at 166.53. The S&P 500 traded at around 14.80.
What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnamese independence from France. American physicist and inventor Percy Spencer accidentally discovered that microwaves can heat food. The average cost of a new American house was $4,600.
Victory In Europe: Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 7, and news of the Allied Victory spread throughout the world on May 8, also known as V-E Day.
The war in the Pacific was winding down as well. U.S. troops captured Okinawa on June 21. On Aug. 6, the Enola Gay dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing roughly 140,000 people. Three days later, a second U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing 70,000 people. On Aug. 14, roughly three months after Germany’s surrender, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender as well.
The year 1945 was a monumental year for U.S. citizens and investors. Stocks didn’t react much on V-E Day, with the down closing the day down less than 1%. However, the forward-looking stock market had seen the writing on the wall for months. The Dow had surged 26.7% in the 12 months prior to V-E Day.
Image credit: Col. General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff under the Doenitz Regime, signs the document of unconditional surrender. On Jodl's left is General Admiral Von Friedeburg of the German Navy, and on the right is Major Wilhelm Oxenius of the German General Staff.