'Eurogeddon'? I doubt it...

Important pre-read

I've intentionally not blogged about the EU referendum, and I've been extremely focused on only sharing opinions and views on social media in 'balanced pairs'. If, throughout the campaign, I posted an argument for Remain, I paired it with a counter-view for Leave. Simply because I believe in democracy and that everyone's vote a) is theirs, b) is personal, c) isn't - and can't be - "wrong", and d) not up for negotiation or convincing otherwise. The same goes for the outcome of Leave. I'm aware that 52% of the voters are delighted (with the result), and 48% are dismayed. As such, I respect both sides, and simply hope for unification in order to progress.


The market

Throughout the campaign debate, the economy was undoubtedly one of the most focused-in-on topics. Which means it's no surprise that it was also one of the quickest news items after the Leave outcome was clear. (Money has also - for some people - become an all-too important 'yardstick' for how 'successful' the world is, but that's a whole different article, for another day).

Within hours of the Leave result being confirmed at Manchester Town Hall, the phrase "#Eurogeddon" was trending in the UK. This was prompted / supported by pre-open FTSE drops in excess of 11%.

However, that 'Eurogeddon' 11% drop in the FTSE 100 turned out to be down just 3% at close - which, whilst not a wonderful result (of course), is a relatively regular / not infrequent daily performance. And, indeed, the FTSE 100 index ended the week 2% up on last week.

On Sterling, yes, the pound has dropped. However, by late-afternoon, the initial 'to 1985 levels' rebuilt to being only as low as it was in February 2016. The 'fall off a cliff' headlines came from the fact that throughout the four days before, Remain-confident traders had been pumping Sterling's value by betting on it.

The Bank of England has said "of course" it has "significantly strong" contingency plans. The US, and several EU countries, have said "of course" the UK will continue to be an "unquestioned" and "indispensable" partner. All of this helped calm the markets.

It's important to remember, when judging anything by stock market attitude, the stock markets no longer actually 'value' anything. They simply assess 'risk'. Hence, uncertainty is reacted to in only one way.

My personal experience

Too much of the campaign - again, on both sides - focused on fear. Much of the fear re: economic uncertainty felt, to me, far too strongly centred on big business. Yes, big business is important. But we have to consider personal finances too. Whilst much of that is admittedly driven by the greater economy, it is important to look at our individual 'indexes' - things that can react to events around us, like variable rates or market linked ISAs - to gauge impact. 

My stocks and shares ISA is up 0.5%, not down. It's been quite volatile recently - having days where it's been up three or four per cent, and days where it's been down about the same. But when I say "recently" I mean for the last nine months; way before the EU debate started, and more linked to global jitters.

Last week my pension was down about 2% as the global market (as a whole) has been exposed to a number of risk increases in the last six months - oil, Chinese growth, manufacturing, Syria, banking, FX swings, property prices, new rules in the banking industry, etc. My pension on results day? It closed at 1.5% up.

My point

The path ahead is not guaranteed, naturally. It wouldn't have been whether we'd chosen Remain or Leave. We've not had guarantees on anything for a long time. And we have much more in the way of gains and losses before we 'level' out.

But, let's focus on getting there, and let's abandon media hype and silly terms like Eurogeddon, which are only ever invented for headline value. Media hype didn't do us much good in the last global financial crisis eight years ago (remember Northern Rock). Or seven years prior to that when the dotcom 'bubble', which was certainly contributed to by media hype, burst. Or, actually, seven or eight years prior to that when the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) added to the 1992-1993 financial crisis.

Now I think of it, the media's role in each of the seven-or-so yearly cyclical recessions we've had for the best part of the last 100 years has been poor, at best.

Let's move forward, together, with common sense.