Speed Reads


Brexit approval hammers pound, roils global financial markets

The Brexit vote hammered the British pound

The decision by UK voters to leave the European Union sent the British pound plummeting more than 10 percent against the U.S. dollar early Friday, to $1.35, its weakest level since 1985, and injected chaos in global financial markets.

The euro weakened 4 percent, and global stock indexes fell or braced for heavy losses — Japan's Nikkei index dropped 8 percent, London's FTSE was projected to open down 7 percent, and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by more than 500 points. Britain is the world's fifth largest economy, and No. 2 in the 28-member European Union (after Germany). Leaving the EU will pull Britain out of a major free-trade union and force it to negotiate new trade deals with the U.S. and other nations, and it leaves London's status as a global banking center up in the air.