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This is Brexit: London stocks get crushed

UK Referendum in 90 Seconds

Stocks in London and Europe are plunging headlong into one of their biggest falls in years after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

London FTSE 100 index has plunged as much as 8%, the biggest fall since 2008, before recovering slightly to trade 5% down. The wider FTSE 250 index has dropped 7.5%. Many analysts see the FTSE 250 as a more accurate reflection of the British economy.

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The pound has dropped to its lowest level in more than 30 years. Other European markets also plunged. Germany’s DAX is down 7%, while the French CAC is plunging 8%. Stocks in Ireland are down nearly 10%.

The U.K. is the first country to vote to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned, saying he will stay in the office for the next three months.

“The financial markets have certainly taken the view that the decision to leave the European Union is bad news for the United Kingdom in the near term at least,” said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS.

Related: What you need to know about the shocking vote

Banking stocks are the biggest losers. Barclays (BCS) fell 20% in London, Deutsche Bank (DB) 16%, Lloyds Bank (LYG) 17% and RBS (RBS) 17%.

“We expect the hardest hit stocks to be financial (banks, insurance) followed by house builders, with commodities-related names (miners, oil) following close behind,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

As the market fell, the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, stepped in to try to reassure investors. He said the bank will take all necessary steps to maintain financial stability.

“As a backstop, and to support the functioning of markets, the Bank of England stands ready to provide more than £250 billion of additional funds through its normal facilities,” Carney said.

The FTSE100 and the pound recovered slightly after Carney’s statement.

Related: Markets around the world are in crisis mode

London is the world’s leading financial center and the vote to leave the EU has triggered huge uncertainty about the future of its banking sector.

British banks whose stocks are traded elsewhere in the world have already seen big slumps.

Shares in HSBC (HSBC) crashed 11% in Hong Kong. Standard Chartered was down 12% and Prudential down 11%.

Unlike many major markets around the world, the London Stock Exchange doesn’t have mechanisms to halt trading in all stocks if there’s a crash.

But it can suspend trading in individual shares.

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