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How do you solve a problem like Theresa, or markets?

Elections and markets are funny things. By that I mean both are unpredictable.

When Theresa May called a British general election on April 18, she, like almost every pundit, thought she would win a thumping majority. It hasn’t turned out that way.

Similarly, those traders who bet Ms. May’s Conservative Party would be returned to power in a clear-cut, decisive manner were sadly mistaken. After the Conservative Party lost its Westminster majority after the June 8 UK general election, the UK currency fell as much as 2 percent against the US dollar, suggesting the foreign exchange market was surprised and unnerved.

Of course, in markets as in politics and life, you can’t help but occasionally take risks. The bigger the risk, sometimes, the bigger the reward.

Conversely, the peril is if you risk too much you can lose your shirt; or in Ms. May’s case her current residence, 10 Downing Street.

Political polls or markets make fools of us all even with the best data or analysis that promises to mitigate risk.

So, what can we rely on? I suggest for the trader or financier, back ache.

That’s what George Soros, the hedge fund manager, does. His son, Robert, who has made a fortune making audacious bets in markets, reckons he knows when his father is going to sell out of a position; it is when the elder Mr. Soros complains of a back ache.

Ms. May and the traders who bet on her party returning to power easily may now have headaches together with back aches.


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