June 2010 Fears about Europe's debt crisis and the slowing economy pushes euro to four-year low on June 7. VIX stays above high fear level for half the month. Stocks end second quarter with dismal 10%-12% declines.
July 2010 A weaker-than-expected jobs report hurts stocks at the start of the month. Obama signs Wall Street reform bill into law. Bernanke says economy is 'unusually uncertain.' Strong quarterly earnings help stocks rebound by month's end.
August 2010 Bernanke gives first hints that Fed may initiate a second round of monetary stimulus, known as quantitative easing or QE2. Worries about weak job market and consumer spending persist. Second-quarter GDP revised down, but tops forecasts.
September 2010 Stocks start month strong on signs of manufacturing strength. Dampened consumer sentiment and a murky outlook for job growth leads to volatile trading. Despite a stomach-churning month, stocks post best September in 71 years.
October 2010 Third-quarter GDP shows economy grew at a sluggish pace, making a second round of quantitative easing all but certain. China surprises markets with first rate hike in 3 years. Anticipation about midterm elections keeps stocks in a tight range.
November 2010 Republicans win back the House and Fed officially unveils QE2, a $600 billion bond-buying program. Stocks immediately surge to 2-year highs but end the month with a whimper amid worries about debt-ridden European economies.
December 2010 Obama signs $858 billion tax cut deal into law. China announces second surprise rate hike in two months. Blizzards dampen consumer spending. Stocks end year on a high note – Dow up 11%, S&P 500 up 13% and Nasdaq up 17%.
January 2011 Worries about a bailout for Portugal keep investors on edge. Anti-government protests in Egypt sparks concerns over regional stability. Oil spikes on worries about potential shipping disruptions through Egypt-controlled Suez Canal.
February 2011 After weeks of anti-government protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned. Libyan political crisis escalates. Crude oil tops $100 a barrel for first time since 2008 as worries about unrest spreading to Libya's exporting neighbors.
March 2011 Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami add to concerns about North Africa and the Middle East. Damage to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant escalates nuclear crisis fears. Protests spread across Saudi Arabia. Oil remains above $100.
April 2011 Another earthquake hits Japan and threat level raised at Fukushima. Budget stalemate raises possibility of a U.S. government shutdown. S&P cut its long-term debt outlook on U.S. to negative, citing the ballooning deficit.
May 2011 The U.S. hit its debt ceiling and Congress continued to battle over the budget. Mixed bag of economic reports, including housing and jobs, led to volatility and worries about slowing economy. Stocks post worst month since August.
June 2011 A disappointing jobs report (employers added a mere 54,000 jobs last month) leads to selling spree. Bernanke calls job market 'far from normal' and acknowledges economy slowdown. Greece debt crisis rears its ugly head. Again.
Check out CNNMoney's interactive feature highlighting the events that moved the VIX and the S&P 500 over the last year.
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