The Japanese claimed victory. Although they inflicted greater losses on the American fleet, the Japanese were forced to abandon their invasion of Port Moresby in New Guinea.
The Japanese light carrier Shoho was sunk on 7 May. On the following day, the Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku was badly damaged and the Zuikaku suffered major losses in aircraft. The US fleet carrier USS Lexington (Lady Lex) was so badly damaged that the Americans abandoned her and sank her later that evening. The American carrier USS Yorktown was damaged, too.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first time that the USA opposed the Japanese with a comparably powerful force and it signaled that the Americans were moving beyond their uniquely defensive strategy. One result of the battle was that the Shokaku and Zuikaku were absent at the Battle of Midway in June, greatly increasing the chances of an American victory.The loss of the Lady Lex, as the USS Lexington was known, was made good a few months later when the new USS Lexington was launched in Quincy, Massachussetts, on 26 September 1942.
The new USS Lexington—nicknamed the Blue Ghost, partly on account of her blue-grey paint and on her ability to ‘disappear’—would take part in many battles and survive the war.
She can be seen today, moored at the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay in Corpus Christi, Texas.