Brexit Rocks Wall Street – How Should Investors Respond?
The vote on Thursday by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union rocked financial markets worldwide, and is affecting every investor, large and small.
Bob Seidenschwartz is a financial counselor with S. G. Long in Missoula, and appears often on the KGVO Radio Talk Back show representing the Montana World Affairs Council, so he has a unique vantage point when it comes to financial markets both at home and abroad. He said the vote took financial experts by surprise.
"When we looked on Thursday at the projected vote, it was at about 52 percent to 48 percent for the UK to stay in the European Union," Seidenschwartz said. "Then, last that night the results came in that the vote was for getting out, and immediately the global markets started to respond. Futures were showing the Dow, the S&P and the Nasdaq were going to be considerably down."
In fact, the Dow did open down 480 points on Friday, and Seidenschwartz said the one thing markets hate is uncertainty.
"That's it exactly," he said. "Nobody really knows what's going to happen. There's so many implications about what is yet to play out. The Brits have never been tied to the Euro just as a point of reference , and the British pound sterling is down considerably. European banking stocks got hit pretty hard, and the dollar, of course, is strengthening, and so that makes you the best looking girl at the ugly girl dance. It's a predictable reaction, but is it rational? Not necessarily."
Seidenschartz makes it a point not to try to give specific financial advice on the radio, preferring listeners to contact their own personal financial counselors, but he did provide some general principles in times of financial stress.
"Stay disciplined in terms of what you're doing on a monthly basis," he said. "This is a case in which if you make a move and get out, you may avoid some continued downside, but, here's the problem. When these things happen, the snap back can also be just as quick and violent, so if you're not in the game, then you're going to have taken the losses but then not there to benefit when things come back."
On Friday, the Dow closed down 610 points to close at 17,400. The S&P 500 was down 75 points at 2,037, and the Nasdaq dropped 202 points to close at 4,707.