Global Markets Plunge On U.K.’s Surprise Brexit Vote

Japan stock market brexit
Japanese shares tumble after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
REX Shutterstock.

Update: Global Markets End The Day Even Lower

U.S. stocks ended Friday even worse than they started. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 600 points, at 17,401.64; the Nasdaq was down more than 200 points, at 4,707.98; and the S&P 500 ended 76 points in the red, at 2,037.31.

The European markets also closed in the red, with Britain’s FTSE shedding 200 points, to 6,138.69; Germany’s DAX plunging 700 points, to 9,577.16; and France’s CAC losing 360 points, to 4,106.73.

What We Reported Earlier

U.S. stocks are trading sharply lower Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging as much as 500 points in early morning trading as stunned investors react to news that British voters decided on Thursday to take their country out of the European Union.

About 52 percent of voters — with a margin of victory amounting to around 1.3 million votes — cast their ballots in favor of Britain’s exit (Brexit) from the EU. Meanwhile, 48 percent voted in favor of staying within the EU.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had been a major proponent of Britain remaining in the EU, tendered his resignation in the wake of the vote. (He plans to step down in October.)

Speaking outside his office at 10 Downing St. on Friday, Cameron said he was “proud” and “honored” to have led the country for the past six years.

Regarding the “leave” victory, Cameron said that the Brexit vote followed intense debates, where both sides were informed enough to make the most appropriate decision.

British Prime Minister David Cameron British Prime Minister David Cameron. REX Shutterstock.

The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered — [the Brexit vote] was not a decision that was taken lightly,” Cameron said.

During his remarks, Cameron also tried — albeit unsuccessfully — to temper market tensions in advance.

Across the world, people have been watching the choice that Britain has made,” Cameron said. “I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong. I would also reassure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that there would be no immediate changes in your circumstances — there will be no initial change in the way our people can travel and in the way our goods can move or how our services can be sold.

As of 10:30 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones had shed 410 points, to 17,600.14; the Nasdaq dived 138 points, to 4,771.91; and the S&P 500 slipped 50 points, to 2,063.12.

The European markets also crumbled under the pressures, with Britain’s FTSE shedding 125 points, to 6,213.33; Germany’s DAX plunging 570 points, to 9,686.86; and France’s CAC losing 277 points, to 4,188.66.

Asian markets also followed suit with Japan’s Nikkei nosediving 1,286 points, to 14,952.02; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropping more than 600 points, to 20,259.13; and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index down 38 points, to 2,854.29.

Among footwear stocks in the red Friday were: Nike Inc., down 1.6 percent; Under Armour, slipping 1.7 percent; Skechers USA Inc., down 2.08 percent; and Deckers Brands, shedding 2.94 percent.

Meanwhile, Finish Line Inc.’s shares remained an anomaly, gaining more than 20 percent on an upbeat Q1 earnings report released Friday morning.