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Europe stocks plummet to close 7% lower after Brexit vote

Arjun Kharpal
Leon Neal | AFP | Getty Images. European stocks plummeted at the open as the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, sending the pound tanking as much as 10 percent against the dollar and oil prices spiralling downwards.

European stocks came off their session lows on Friday before falling again, as the news the U.K. had voted to leave the European Union (EU) rocked global markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (^STOXX) index closed down around 7 percent lower on the day.

Losses were led by peripheral bourses, with London's FTSE 100 (FTSE International: .FTSE) outperforming. It closed 3.2 percent lower on the day and nearly 2 percent higher on the week.

The French CAC (Euronext Paris: .FCHI) closed around 8 percent lower on the day. Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) index tanked as much as 10 percent before paring losses, closing around 6.8 percent down.

Italy's FTSE MIB (FTSE International: .FTMIB) and Spain's IBEX (Mercado Continuo: .IBEX) both closed more than 12 percent lower.

The unexpected result of the referendum sent sterling into freefall , hitting its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 in the early hours of Friday morning at around $1.3224. It traded at $1.3645 around the European stock market close.

Bank stocks were hard hit, with the U.K.'s Barclays (London Stock Exchange: BARC-GB) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (London Stock Exchange: RBS-GB) both ending the session around 18 percent lower.

European banks headquartered outside of the U.K. also fell steeply. Shares of Greek and Italian banks, which were already under pressure because of concerns about their bad debt piles, were notably poor performers.

Shares of Alpha Bank and Eurobank Ergasias closed around 30 percent lower, while Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo closed roughly 23 percent down.

Shares of French and German banks also tumbled, with Deutsche Bank ended around 14 percent lower on Friday.

Crude oil (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL.1) prices tanked, while gold (Exchange:XAU=), a so-called safe-haven asset, spiked as much as 5.5 percent. This helped stocks of precious metals miners Randgold Resources (London Stock Exchange: RRS-GB) and Fresnillo (London Stock Exchange: FRES-GB) to the top of the FTSE 100.

Outside of Europe, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) indexes traded around 2.5 percent lower at the European market close.

Asian stocks also slumped, with the Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 (Nihon Keizai Shinbun: .N225) tumbling to close 7.9 percent lower.

British retailers were hit, likely due to fears of the effect the vote could have on consumer confidence and spending. Stocks like Next (London Stock Exchange: NXT-GB) and Marks & Spencer (London Stock Exchange: MKS-GB) plummeted.

Travel and leisure stocks were also under pressure. Shares of budget airline EasyJet (London Stock Exchange: EZJ-GB) closed more than 14 percent lower.

Housebuilders felt the heat, due to uncertainty over investment in the U.K. post-Brexit. Taylor Wimpey (London Stock Exchange: TW.-GB) and Persimmon (London Stock Exchange: PSN-GB) were at the bottom of the FTSE 100, closing more than 27 percent down on the day.

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