If you have a good long memory, you may recall that last Summer, the U.K. panicked the investment markets by voting, in a nation-wide referendum, to exit the European Union. There were, of course, dire predictions about the impact on the U.K. economy, which never materialized, in large part because the U.K. had not yet formally opted out of its Eurozone agreements.
You can go to Las Vegas and bet on the U.S. election, or make a side bet with your friends. Or you can buy an ETF.
More than three months after British voters elected to extricate their economy from the European Union, Brexit still hasn’t actually happened. What’s going on?
Remember Brexit? Of course you do. Many short-term traders thought the sky was falling when British voters unexpectedly decided to opt their country out of the European Union. But the process of extricating the British economy from the complexities of European membership has been deliberate and thoughtful—on both sides.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that it would have been a bad idea to sell your stock holdings after the Brexit vote; you would have locked in a 5% to 10% loss in a market that eventually trended upward to new record highs. The same is true of the aftermath of the World Court decision that slapped China in the face by declaring that man-made islands don’t transform an ocean into territorial waters, the attempted coup in Turkey, or, really, any other alarming headline which doesn’t materially affect a company’s ability to run its operations.
Before there was “Brexit” there was another painful economic divorce, when the British citizens of the American colonies decided to “Amexit” the British Empire in the 1770s. The Economist magazine took statistics from that era, including long-term government bond yields and stock prices, to see what the “Amexit” shock looked like from an economic standpoint in Britain.
The Next Big Thing to Worry About that you’ll soon be reading about in the financial press is Italian banks. Some Italian banking stocks fell more than 30% after the Brexit vote on fears that the Eurozone will experience weaker-than-expected economic growth. Worse: the Italian banking system now reports that nearly $400 billion worth of its collective loans are nonperforming—about 18% of the total. Compare that with the fact that, at the height of the financial crisis, only 5% of the loans in U.S. banks were categorized as nonperforming.