At the close: Er, what? FTSE 100 rallies after sharp morning losses and despite banking bloodbath
The FTSE 100 has staged a recovery almost as remarkable – and less expected – as its dramatic plunge at the start of the day.
The blue-chip index proved remarkably resilient to the shock vote for the UK to leave the European Union and ended the day at 6,162.97 points, down 2.76 per cent or 175 points.
After tumbling more than eight per cent at the open and looking on course to post its worst ever day, the index has rallied throughout the session.
The FTSE 100 is now around the same level it was on Monday, when it was believed traders had begun to price in a Remain vote, and broadly unchanged since the start of the year.
Perhaps more peculiarly, the FTSE's losses were overshadowed by falls on nearly all the other major exchanges. The Nikkei 225 lost more then eight per cent overnight as fear gripped the markets with results dripping in throughout the night.
Europe performed far worse than the UK.
The Dax in Frankfurt was down 6.8 per cent at the close – its worst day since the financial crisis in 2008.
The French Cac 40 lost eight per cent and in Madrid the Spanish market fell by 12 per cent. Italy fared the worst, losing a whopping 12.5 per cent.
Around four-fifths of revenues at FTSE 100 firms come from outside the UK, so analysts suggested the recovery could be as traders realised many could benefit as the pound lost ground against every single major currency.
The more domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index, however, suffered. It lost 7.1 per cent by the close, though an improvement on the 11 per cent plunge at the open, but not as impressive as its big brother.
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The big domestic players on the FTSE 100, including housebuilders and banks, had a torrid day.
Persimmon ended down by 27.5 per cent while and Taylor Wimpey lost 29.3 per cent. Lloyds Banking Group lost 21 per cent and Barclays was worth 17.7 per cent less than this time yesterday.
Sterling suffered its biggest one-day fall in history, slumping from $1.50 at 11pm last night to a low of $1.32 before the market recovered. It has since climbed back to settle around $1.38 – the same level reached during February's market turmoil.
As the appetite for risk returned throughout the day, yields on government bonds pushed back up. The interest payable on a 10-year bond from the UK Treasury dropped to 1.02 per cent early this morning before climbing to 1.1 per cent by early afternoon. That's still dramatically down from the 1.37 per cent they closed at yesterday.
Moreover, in the turmoil which engulfed the markets, there were even some spots of green. Tobacco stocks – big earners in foreign currencies and traditional defensive positions – climbed.
Despite assurances from the two companies, shares in London Stock Exchange Group are down 8.6 per cent on fears that its mega-merger with Deutsche Boerse may now fall through.