Global stock markets mostly gained on Thursday, as the British public went to the polls to vote on whether to remain in or leave the European Union (EU). Analysts pointed to "tough choices" for the U.K., whatever the result.
Voting took place between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. London time, during which period media reporting restrictions were in place. An indication of the final result could emerge on Friday from 4:00 a.m. London time onward, after the votes have been counted and called in 382 local voting areas, relating to 12 regions in the U.K.
European stock markets traded on a tear early on Thursday, with the U.K.'s benchmark FTSE 100 index 1.5 percent higher at one stage. Stock indexes pared gains in later trade, but still closed higher, with the FTSE 100 provisionally up 1.2 percent. The French CAC ended just under 2 percent higher, with the German DAX up around 1.9 percent.
Thursday is the culmination of four months of fraught campaigning by the leave and remain groups, who have been trying to win over the British public to their arguments over whether the U.K. would be better-off staying in the 28-country economic and political bloc or not.