Friday, June 24, 2016

Global Markets Tumble After #Brexit Vote

I expect that markets will stabilize as the political and economic ramifications of the vote become clearer. Of course, good leadership couldn't hurt. Prime Minister Cameron's resignation is obviously a stark move, but meetings between U.K. and E.U. representatives are supposed to start right away. From reading around on Twitter, a good scenario would be for Britain to negotiate membership without voting rights in the European Free Trade Association (and perhaps the European Economic Area as well, which is problematic, since that would entail the "free movement of persons" among member states, and that's probably the main reason the British voted to leave).

But more on that later.

Here's the Wall Street Journal, "Markets Roiled as U.K. Votes to Leave EU: Global stocks plummet after win by ‘Brexit’ supporters":

Britain’s surprise vote to leave the European Union battered the British pound by more than 11%, sent global stocks tumbling and broke records in government-bond yields as the world’s financial markets braced for an uncertain future for the politics and economies of Europe.

It was a historic drubbing for investors who had stacked up bets that the U.K. would choose to stay. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, said Friday he would step down.

Stocks in Asia, Europe and the U.S. fell sharply, along with oil prices, as investors sought safety in gold and government bonds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 611.21 points, or 3.4%, to 17399.86, wiping out its year-to-date gains. The S&P 500 index fell 3.6%, dragged lower by bank stocks, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 4.1%.

“We haven’t had what I would say is a crash, but we’ve given back gains we’d taken months to make,” said Chris Semenuk, manager of the TIAA-CREF International Equity Fund.

European stocks closed with steep losses. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 7%, its steepest drop since 2008. Goldman Sachs sent out a note Friday predicting the index’s losses related to a British exit from the EU, or “Brexit,” could total 19%.

The drop in sterling helped keep London’s export-heavy FTSE 100 somewhat insulated from the turmoil in the U.K. The index fell 3.15%. The FTSE 250 index, which tends to be more geared toward the U.K. economy, fell 7.2%, its steepest drop since 1988.

European bank shares posted especially sharp losses, with British bank Barclays PLC down 18% and Spanish lender Banco Santander SA down 20%.
Keep reading.