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Which areas of the market might be affected if there is another referendum?
Thursday 02 Mar 2017 Author: Tom Sieber

Sterling is under renewed pressure amid speculation Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon will trigger another independence referendum in 2018.

Reports suggest her English counterpart Theresa May is preparing for another vote amid anger north of the border over May’s hard Brexit stance, including an expected exit from the Single Market.

As well as impacting the currency markets, the announcement of a second referendum, to follow the one held in September 2014, is likely to lead to some volatility on the stock market.

Lessons from history

Looking at the shares which were affected in 2014 could offer some insight into areas to watch if calls for an independence vote solidify.

Financial firms with headquarters in Scotland, like Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Standard Life (SL.) both fell as polls narrowed ahead of the 2014 vote as did Glasgow-headquartered engineer Weir (WEIR) and engineering services business Babcock (BAB).

The latter was marked down as investors fretted about the loss of Royal Navy contracts for its shipyard in Rosyth, Dunfermline.

SSE (SSE) could also lose substantial state support for renewable energy projects if Scotland exited the UK.

What do the polls say?

Most polling gives the ‘No’ campaign a healthy lead but a recent BMG poll for the Herald newspaper saw support for independence at 49% if undecided voters were excluded. (TS)

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