Paul Volcker began his term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in August of 1979. In October, the S&P 500 index dropped 11% on its way to a 20% drop in 1980.
Alan Greenspan was sworn in as Fed chairman in August 1987. On October 19, 1987, the markets suffered through “Black Monday,” a devastating sell-off that saw the Dow Jones lose a record 22.6% in a single day.
Ben Bernanke became chairman in February of 2006. In May of that year, the markets stumbled through a 7.8% sell-off on the rocky road to the Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers meltdown.
Janet Yellen began her term as Fed chair in February, 2013, it was the midst of a market sell-off that ultimately saw the S&P drop 5.4%. The sell-off resumed in September, with a further 9% drop on an intraday basis from mid-September to mid-October.
For decades now, it has been an iron-clad rule: Every incoming Fed chair will face market turbulence or a major crisis shortly after taking office. But, to use the parlance of the internet meme generation, Yellen’s newly-appointed successor at the helm of the Fed, Jerome “Jay” Powell, may have been heard to remark “hold my beer” before assuming the chair…
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