Stocks Opened Sharply Lower after Brexit Vote Stunned Markets

U.S. stocks plummeted at the open, oil prices tumbled and the pound fell to a 31-year low on Friday, as Britain’s unprecedented vote to leave the European Union shocked investors and dragged the region, the world’s largest economic bloc, into a new era of uncertainty. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately lost 439.32 points, or 2.44%, to 17,571.75. The S&P 500 fell 553.27 points, or 2.52%, to 2,060.05. The Nasdaq Composite was down 140.46 points, or 2.86%, to 4,769.58.

Oil prices slumped by more than 6 percent on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union, raising fears of a broader economic slowdown that could reduce demand. Brent crude was down $2.45 at $48.46 a barrel at 1004 GMT. U.S. crude was down $2.39 at $47.72 a barrel.

The pound plunged to a more-than-30-year low against the dollar on Friday and the safe-haven yen surged. At 8:39 a.m. ET, the pound was fetching $1.3708, an over 6 percent drop over the previous session.

The Federal Reserve said it is carefully monitoring developments in global financial markets, in cooperation with other central banks, following the results of the U.K. referendum on membership in the European Union. The Fed said it is prepared to provide dollar liquidity through its existing swap lines with central banks, as necessary, to address pressures in global funding markets, which could have adverse implications for the U.S. economy.

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