By Adam Shell, USA TODAY
There’s never a good time for a potential market shock. Unfortunately for investors, the timing couldn’t be worse for Thursday’s hard-to-handicap vote in Britain on whether to exit the European Union. The “Brexit” referendum comes as financial markets and economies around the globe are in a fragile state and vulnerable to an exogenous jolt.
“The last thing a frail global economy needs right now is for one of the strongest developed economies in the world to purposely drive itself into a ditch,” Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust, told USA TODAY.
A Brexit on its own is enough to spook investors. A “Leave” vote could exacerbate weak economic conditions in the U.K. and Europe. It could also spark a fresh wave of investor uncertainty and market volatility, as well as raise fresh questions about the long-term viability of the 28-nation EU itself. The unpredictable referendum outcome makes it impossible for investors to price in 100% of any outcome, which adds to investor risk.
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