A financial research company has raised eyebrows by saying there is a 10pc chance of civilisation being destroyed in a nuclear apocalypse – while urging clients to keep buying shares regardless.
BCA Research, a Canadian business, told clients to “stay bullish” on stocks and “largely ignore existential risk” as their investments will become “irrelevant” if the Ukraine crisis leads to nuclear armageddon.
It put the chance of a civilisation-destroying nuclear war in the next 12 months at an “uncomfortably high” one-in-10, as tensions between Russia and the West escalate.
Peter Berezin, chief global strategist at BCA, wrote: “Despite the risk of nuclear war, it makes sense to stay constructive on stocks over the next 12 months.
“If an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] is heading your way, the size and composition of your portfolio becomes irrelevant. Thus, from a purely financial perspective, you should largely ignore existential risk.”
He concluded: “The risk of Armageddon has risen dramatically. Stay bullish on stocks over a 12-month horizon.”
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The Kremlin has put Russia’s nuclear forces – the largest in the world – on “high alert” and has argued that Nato’s onslaught of financial sanctions are “akin to an act of war”.
Global stock markets tumbled last week as Vladimir Putin doubles down on the invasion of Ukraine.
The FTSE 100 suffered its worst week since March 2020, when the pandemic first struck with the rout wiping more than £130bn off the UK’s blue-chip shares.
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Mr Berezin said: “If Putin concludes that he has no future, the risk is that he will decide that no one else should have a future either.”
BCA warned that markets could experience a “freak-out moment” over the next few weeks even if World War III is ultimately avoided.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace has played down the threat of nuclear war, saying Mr Putin is touting his arsenal in a “battle of rhetoric”.
Mr Wallace said last week: “This is predominantly about Putin putting it on the table just to remind people, remind the world, that he has a deterrent.”