Here's why investors should ignore 0.5% post-Brexit economic growth

The Motley Fool

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK's economy has grown by 0.5% since the Brexit vote, so does that mean leaving the EU won't be such a bad thing for the economy after all?


The ONS said that "There is little evidence of a pronounced effect in the immediate aftermath of the vote", after the July to September quarter beat estimates of only 0.3% growth (though that was down from the 0.7% expansion we saw in the previous quarter). And the likelihood of interest rates being cut further will have receded now.

But the obvious rejoinder to those who think this means we'll be economically fine is -- we haven't left yet!

Our exporters are not having their sales hit by EU tariffs, our importers aren't having to stump up on the stuff they bring in, our banks aren't facing any restrictions on the business they conduct across the EU, our airlines haven't lost access to Europe's open skies... yet.

It's if and when those things happen that we'll start to see the real economic effects of leaving the European Union, not now, when it's still more than two years before we might actually depart.

But while we shouldn't be rejoicing over the latest figures, there's no need for us to recoil in panic either, for the simple reasons that the world of international business is far bigger than the UK, far bigger than the EU, and that our great companies will continue to prosper.

What to buy?

Reckitt Benckiser's plethora of worldwide consumer brands make it truly international, and forecasts since voting day have actually been up-rated (largely due to the fall in the pound). The shares are on P/E valuations above 20, but quality companies do tend to command a premium, and the City's analysts look firm in their buy stance.

Or booze and fags from Diageo and British American Tobacco? I wouldn't buy the latter myself for ethical reasons, but there's no doubt that years of earnings growth and progressive dividends make both of these look like solid Brexit-proof investments -- and both shares have risen sharply since the vote.

Oil shares? Premier Oil and Tullow Oil were both improving before the referendum as recovering oil prices were starting to make their big debt burdens look a little less threatening -- and further rises in the price of a barrel should chip into them further. The prospects for both are not affected one jot by our decision to leave the EU.

Recovery time

Our miners have been picking up since the Chinese economy has turned out to be in pretty decent shape after all and metals and minerals prices have started to pick up. Rio Tinto's future won't be troubled by the political status of the UK vis-a-vis our near neighbours -- and its shares are already up 34% since 23 June.

Or there's a small cap opportunity in Sirius Minerals, which has customers queuing up to get their hands on its Yorkshire potash assets. The shares have more than trebled since February and are up 123% since the Brexit vote.

Or, contrarians might take a closer look at some of our retail stocks, like Marks & Spencer, Next and N Brown Group, which are all on low P/E ratings and offer attractive dividends.

What's your Brexit strategy?

So should these shares be part of your long-term Brexit strategy now? That's what the Fool's top experts have been pondering, and they've put together their brand new Brexit: Your 5-Step Investor's Survival Guide.

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Alan Oscroft owns shares of Premier Oil. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo, Reckitt Benckiser, and Rio Tinto. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.