US markets dive after UK leave vote

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

(Closed): Wall Street followed global markets sharply lower on Friday after the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

The Dow Jones had its biggest loss in five years, falling 611 points, or 3.4%, to 17,400.75.

The S&P 500 fell 76 points, or 3.6%, to 2,037.41, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 202 points, or 4.1%, to 4,707.98.

The Federal Reserve said it was "monitoring developments" after the UK vote.

Earlier in the week Fed chair Janet Yellen warned the referendum "could have significant economic repercussions" for the global markets.

US banks saw significant falls, with shares in Bank of America down 7.4% and Citigroup falling 9.4%.

Morgan Stanley fell by more than 10%, while Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan both dropped by 7%.

"This was really an event that caught most global investors flat-footed," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of BMO Private Bank.

"We're going to see more days like today as the collective wisdom may prove wrong in others cases, too."

Airplane maker Boeing fell 5.3%.

Tech stocks took a hit as well. Apple shares were down 2.8% and Microsoft fell 4%.

Commodity prices also tumbled. US Crude fell 5% to $47.62 a barrel and Brent crude dropped 4.9% to $48.43.

Mining companies saw their stocks rise as investors flocked to the safety of gold.

Gold Fields climbed 9.4% and Harmony Gold was up 8.4%, while Newmont Mining rose 5%.