24 June 2016 at 2:34 GMT
US stock index futures dropped late on Thursday as early voting returns suggested Britain was on the verge of leaving the European Union, a move that investors fear could hurt the global economy. S&P E-mini futures fell as much as 2% in after-hours trading before paring losses to trade down 1.2%. Early results from the referendum showed margins were nail-bitingly tight, with the "remain" camp leading by less than 1 percentage point with about a quarter of voting areas counted. USDGBP fell as low as $1.4351, more than wiping out its earlier gains, which had lifted the pound above $1.50 for the first time this year on the back of a YouGov opinion poll that suggested Britons had voted 52-48% to stay in the EU. Reflecting nervousness among investors, futures on the VIX volatility index rose 1.3 points to 17.9. "Big institutions were clearly caught off guard. This has a panic type of feel to it," said Adam Sarhan at Sarhan Capital in New York.
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