LONDON — Stock markets crashed, 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.
Investors rushed to dump European shares as soon as markets opened, following earlier drops in Asia, and Wall Street was set to fall sharply amid concerns about the economic consequences of the vote. The move could drain confidence among companies and business in Britain and the wider EU.
Britain’s FTSE 100 plunged about 8 percent but recovered slightly for a 5 percent loss. The German index tanked 10 percent, which would be its biggest one-day decline ever, and France’s index tumbled about 7 percent. Wall Street opened sharply lower, with the Dow Jones plummeting 500 points and the S&P down 2.6 percent — its worst opening since 1986.