(Bloomberg) — Investors may need to hunker down for a slump in U.S. stocks if President Joe Biden opts for a surprise choice and doesn’t renominate Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair.
Nearly 90% of the economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Biden to keep Powell in the job, an overwhelming number that’s risen from June, while Fed Governor Lael Brainard, a Democrat, is seen as the likely choice by 9% of economists surveyed. Roger Ferguson, the former vice chair of the Fed was chosen by 22%. A poll of 52 economists took place Sept. 15 to 15.
A surprise move by investors is likely to cause market jitters. A majority of economists forecast a stock market rally if Powell was renominated. However, more than half said stocks will decline if Brainard is the pick.
Economists were evenly divided on the question of whether or not bond yields will rise or fall as a result of news about either selection. About a third of the economists declined to predict market reactions because there’s too much uncertainty surrounding how the events would play out.
Powell has deflected all questions on whether he’d serve four more years if asked, leaving the impression intact that he’d like to stay at the helm. Biden is expected to name a replacement for at least that chair’s seat this fall. Biden has the chance to take over as vice chair and vice chair for supervision, along with filling the vacant seat on the board.
Investors view both as being dovish and supportive of low interest rates to promote strong growth and full employment. Brainard has been praised by progressive groups as being more willing to confront Wall Street and address climate risks than Powell. Brainard’s nomination would be confirmed by the Senate, however, it will likely prove to be a more difficult fight.
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