U.S. stock futures took a plunge late Thursday as U.K. voters unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum. Traders and brokers braced themselves for a rough day: In New York early Friday, Dow Jones Industrials futures were down more than 500 points and the S&P 500 Index contracts and Nasdaq futures each indicated a drop of nearly 4 percent when the markets open. Central banks had warned ahead of the vote that a victory for Brexit could mean a major disruption of the global economy amid investors’ uncertainty. Just before the referendum, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said he saw only “negative economic outcomes” in the event of the U.K. leaving the EU.
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