Brexit: It’s All Greek to Me
In last week’s Income Without Borders we looked at the odds of Great Britain leaving the European Union, which we handicapped as low. This week we’ll look at the opportunities the situation presents.
We know opportunities are coming because we have seen this show before.
Greece’s potential exit of the European Union last year created broad stock market selloffs creating opportunities in key income sectors. And we believe the closer we get to Britain’s June 23 referendum on the measure, the more fear will affect the markets, and more opportunity for sell-off created bargains.
Given how few bargains exist in strong, income-producing stocks, investors should be keenly interested in how the “Brexit” plays out.
As most investors know, the biggest challenge today is finding reasonably priced income investments in a world where many of them are now overvalued as investors piled into safe-haven assets in the past few months after two extreme global market declines in the last year. And government fixed income securities have yet to offer an alternative.
In fact, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research has warned that reductions in interest rates in Europe and other foreign countries may spill over to U.S. interest rates. Long-term U.S treasuries yields and term premiums fell markedly in the first quarter, and they are near historical lows. The Treasury thinks this continued low level of U.S. long-term rates is a source of financial instability.
All the more reason to invest in strong, high-yielding Global Income Edge stocks.
We don’t think Britain will leave the European Union, but even if it does, our Global Income Edge’s British multinational holdings are in good shape to weather the ensuing storm. They are diversified globally, and are in vital industries with pricing power such as healthcare, telecom and utilities. For subscribers, we provide an update on our British holdings later in this story.
In the end, whether Brexit happens or not, people will still pay for electricity to heat their homes, pay their telecom provider to call their families, or buy prescriptions after seeing the doctor. And even if these will be bit more expensive if Brexit happens, these essentials will always be the first to be paid.
As far as Europe itself, we have generally been bullish on it and continue to be. Although we haven’t seen stellar growth, we have seen steady growth, and euro area retail sales have been steadily gaining over the last 28 months. But we remain cautious. Given our more uncertain, slower-growth world, no safe haven market or country exists.