Now that British voters have decided to leave the European Union, the shock on the financial markets has begun to wear off. Cooler heads are pondering what it means for the future.
For U.S. consumers, the implications are mostly positive, according to financial experts who have been offering up opinions over the last few days.
For the average person with his or her retirement savings in a 401(k) or other retirement account, it was probably unsettling to see the stock market sell off Friday and Monday the way it did. But by Tuesday, stocks were bouncing back and there are plenty of indications stock prices could go even higher from here.
What about savers with money in Treasury bonds? Actually, those consumers have done okay and are poised to do even better in the future. That's because since the Brexit vote, the yield on newly issued T-bills has plunged, making older bonds paying even the miserly rate of 1.8% more valuable.
Here's why: appearing on CNBC Thursday, Hilltop Securities' Mark Grant predicted the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond would fall to below 1%. A bond with a 2% yield would be worth a lot more than its face value should the holder want to sell.
Grant predicts the worst impact of the Brexit vote will be felt in the European Union, which he predicts won't survive. With other central banks around the world now paying no yield, Grant predicts money will pour into the U.S. market, keeping U.S. rates low.
Low mortgage rates
For consumers who don't own stocks or bonds but who would like to buy a home, this development would be helpful. Mortgage rates are based on the 30-year Treasury bond – the lower the yield falls the lower mortgage rates go. So already-low mortgage rates should go even lower in the next few weeks, making homes slightly more affordable.
With international money flowing into the U.S., the dollar will get even stronger.
That's bad for U.S. businesses that rely on exports because it makes their goods and services more expensive overseas. But for American consumers, a strong dollar means imported goods will be cheaper. Consumers who travel outside the U.S. will also find their money goes farther.
Additionally, since oil is priced in dollars, a strong U.S. currency will tend to keep oil prices in check.
Not as bad as it looked
With the passage of several days, many experts have tempered their original dire outlook. Billionaire investor George Soros, who was among the most alarmed by the Brexit vote, has told the European Parliament he no longer views Brexit as having a “tragic” outcome for Europe.
While an element of risk and uncertainty remains, the Brexit vote also has short-term positive implications for Wall Street. There is now near-universal agreement among economists that the Federal Reserve will refrain from the previously expected interest rate hike for the next few months. The low interest rate environment has been a major factor in the stock market's long rally.