Winners and losers in the markets after UK 'leave' vote

Image 1 of 11

Britain's decision to leave the European Union is having a huge effect on financial markets Friday, sending many assets plunging and a few soaring as traders try to gauge the fallout for the British and European economies and beyond.

Investors aggressively sold stocks in Europe, Asia and the U.S. as well as the British pound, and piled into safe-play investments like U.S. government bonds, utility stocks and gold, sending those prices higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 611 points, or 3.4 percent, to 17,399 in heavy trading Friday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 75 points, or 3.6 percent, to 2,037. The Nasdaq composite sank 202 points, or 4.1 percent, to 4,707.

It was the biggest drop for the Dow and S&P 500 since August and the worst fall for the Nasdaq since 2011.

Some European markets fell even more. France's benchmark index lost 8 percent and Germany's fell 7 percent. Britain's fell 3 percent.

Bond prices rose sharply as investors sought safety.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.57 percent from 1.75 percent a day earlier, a huge move.


THE POUND: The British pound took a huge loss, plunging more than 10 percent from about $1.50 to $1.35, then recovered somewhat, as investors worried that Britain's departure would hurt its economy and diminish London's role as a global financial hub. The pound touched its lowest level since 1985.

BANKS: Many banks use London as a center for European operations, but that's likely to change as Britain extracts itself from the EU. Also, long-term interest rates are dropping as investors pile into U.S. government bonds, making lending less profitable. U.S. banking stocks fell far more than the rest of the market. Industry bellwether JPMorgan Chase tumbled 7 percent.

ASIAN STOCKS: Asian stocks were the first to react to the vote and they took huge losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 plunged 7.9 percent after a wild day of trading, its biggest loss since the financial crisis.

EUROPEAN STOCKS: European stocks also tumbled, although indexes on the European continent took larger losses than British ones. France's CAC 40 lost 8 percent and Germany's DAX fell 6.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 3.1 percent, with homebuilders suffering huge losses.

CRUDE OIL: Oil prices fell almost 5 percent as investors worried the move will slow down global economic growth. Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $2.47 to $47.64 a barrel in New York.

THE EURO: While Britain never adopted Europe's common currency, the vote to leave got investors worried that the EU could weaken as an economic bloc if other countries also decided to leave, or to postpone joining. The euro fell to $1.1121 from $1.1351.


GOLD: The most famous "safe" investment of all, gold made its biggest jump in months. Gold is now trading at its highest price since July 2014. The price of an ounce of gold rose $59, or 4.7 percent, to $1,322. That followed five days of declines as investors hoped that Britons would vote to remain in the EU.

BONDS: Investors bought U.S. government bonds, which are considered an ultra-safe investment that tends to hold its value and is easy to buy and sell. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note plunged to 1.56 percent from 1.75 percent a day earlier, a huge move. Bond yields are used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages.

HIGH-DIVIDEND STOCKS: Stocks that are similar to bonds also did well. Utility companies and phone companies pay big dividends compared to most other kinds of stocks. That means investors get more cash and the stocks are more stable. Utility stocks were the only one of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index to rise on Friday.

THE DOLLAR: The dollar, which is already very strong relative to other currencies, got even stronger. The ICE U.S. Dollar index, which measure the dollar against a group of other world currencies, rose about 2 percent.