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Four Years After the Vote, Brexit Still Haunts U.K. Stocks

  • FTSE 100 remains a stand-out laggard among major indexes
  • U.K. equities’ value appeal has failed to attract investors
London Stock Exchange Reopens After Christmas Holiday

Photographer: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

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U.K. equities have underperformed every year since the 2016 referendum, and have been a consensus underweight among money managers. Just as the long-shunned market was starting to recover from years of political instability and uncertainty over ties with the European Union, the coronavirus pandemic has left the country facing its worst recession in 300 years.

As the lockdown gradually eases, with English pubs, restaurants and cinemas set to reopen in July, clarity on negotiations with the EU before the end of the transition agreement in December may revive investor interest in a market that’s trading near historically cheap levels.