Investors unimpressed by Obama and back Brexit despite stock market fears

 
William Turvill
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Barack Obama spoke out against a Brexit in a visit to the UK last month (Source: Getty)

UK personal investors have been unimpressed by politicians in the run-up to the EU referendum and a majority say they will vote for a Brexit, new research has found.

The 56 per cent backing for Leave – compared with a 39 per cent vote for Remain – comes despite a majority feeling that a Brexit would have a negative effect on the stock market.

Read more: The definitive list of everyone who's ever expressed a view on Brexit

The Share Centre’s online survey of more than 1,800 also found 30 per cent said President Barack Obama’s intervention – encouraging a Remain vote – made them more likely to vote for a Brexit. Another 51 per cent said it had made no difference to their feelings.

The survey did not reflect well on British politicians, either. When asked who they trust most when talking about issues around the EU referendum, out of David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, 38 per cent opted for: “None of the above.”

Gove was the highest-scoring spokesperson at 21 per cent, above Cameron’s 13 per cent, Johnson’s 11 per cent and Corbyn’s three per cent.

The support for a Brexit – which the Share Centre said had weakened from 62 per cent in February – comes despite a “strong sense” that a Leave vote would be negative for the stock market.

Read more: Brexit could cut sterling by 15pc, says Treasury

Some 66 per cent of those surveyed said such a vote would have a slightly or largely negative effect on the market.

The Share Centre said this apparent discrepancy may be explained by the fact that 53 per cent believe a Leave vote would be slightly or largely positive for the UK as a whole. “This suggests investors are prepared to look beyond their own self-interest and base their decision on the wider impact the referendum might have on the UK,” the report said.

Some 20 per cent of participants said they are already changing their investment behaviour ahead of the referendum, deferring investment decisions. And a further 18 per cent said they plan to do so as the vote approaches.

Richard Stone, chief executive of the Share Centre, said: “What is clear, with a month to go, is that the vote will have an impact on the UK stock market and volatility may increase in the short term. With this in mind, investors may want to reflect on their use of stop loss limits and other such protections.

"While not guaranteeing to restrict losses in a very fast moving market (prices can jump beyond limits set) these tools can help limit exposure or identify buying opportunities if set to trigger purchases.”

Meanwhile, another report, based on the findings of a survey of 407 institutional investors, also found concerns over the impact of a Brexit on markets.

The Investor Relations Society study, in partnership with Quantifire, found 78 per cent said the referendum is an important factor when making investment decisions. And 88 per cent said Brexit would be negative for investment markets in the short-term.

John Gollifer, general manager of the IR Society, said: “Investor relations is fundamentally about creating a dialogue between companies and the investment community. This timely piece of research tells us that two thirds of fund managers have suggested they will be reducing or selling UK equities if Brexit looks likely. At the IR Society, we have an important role in helping our members prepare for this possibility.”

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