Everyone who knows me makes allowances for the fact that I am older than God. So with that kind of preamble it goes without saying that I have witnessed quite a few upheavals in my 53 years in the City of London. Yesterday’s ‘LEAVE’ vote was the most dramatic political landmark this country has witnessed since the UK electorate booted Winston Churchill, our war time hero in to the long grass in 1945 as reaction to the Baldwin/McDonald era post the depression.
Last night the market suggested that a ‘REMAIN’ vote was a ‘slam dunk!’ The Pound had rallied from $1.42 to $1.50. The FTSE had crept up a hundred odd points during the week. The Bookies said that ‘REMAIN’ was ‘nailed on.’ The Polls were not quite as ebullient. Clearly the hedge funds and funds had paid for their own private polls; otherwise their chilled-out stance towards the market could only have been described as irresponsible. So the early results in Newcastle and Sunderland really put the ‘cat amongst the pigeons!’ The Pound fell like a stone from $150 to $1.35 just after midnight without touching the sides. It has recovered a little poise to be down about 7% at $1.3750. When the FTSE opened it fell by 549 points to 5788. However it has recovered to be down 235 points at 6180 at 2.45pm. There were initially some vituperative movements with Barclays down 30% and Lloyds easier by 20%, recovering to be down just by about 20% and 17% respectively. House builders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey easier by 30% and 40% respectively – now down 24% and 26%. ITV was 215p last night. It fell this am to 148p before recovering to 178p. All these singled out stocks were almost certainly the subject of programme trades – hence the breath taking and vituperative ‘fall-out’ of these share values, bearing little resemblance to reality. Why a share like Land Securities should lose 18% I will never know. The DAX fell 8% and the CAC 7% – so the market knows of Europe’s concern and the adverse effect BREXIT is purported to have. There is also no doubt that the toxic rhetoric from both sides of the divide particularly from project fear has exacerbated the steepness of the falls.
The best news today came in the form of pearls of wisdom and philosophical gems from the lips of the BOE Governor Mark Carney, who reassured the market in the most statesmanlike manner that the BOE was ahead of the curve with its contingency plans in the event of BREXIT. He told us that banks had raised £130 billion of extra capital and that there was plenty of extra liquidity. It appears that Standard & Poor are threatening to cut the UK’s debt rating from its AAA rating. At 3.20am the DOW is down 380 points – 2.1%