Yorkshire’s biggest businesses battered on Stock Exchange

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne
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Britain’s decision to leave the European Union sent new shock​ ​waves through ​UK ​financial​ and stock​ markets on Monday, with the pound ​​sinking to its lowest level against the dollar for 31 years​.

This was despite attempts by Chancellor George Osborne to halt the crash​ and ease​ the​ political and economic turmoil unleashed by the ​decision to leave the EU​.

“There’s still an awful lot of questions that need to be answered as to what happens next and until we see some clarity here, the volatility is likely to continue.”

​Mr Osborne ​claimed​ the British economy ​i​s strong enough to cope with the volatility caused by Thursday’s referendum​, but sterling fell ​to a low of $1.3151, before rallying back slightly to a 3.4 per cent fall to $1.321.​ This follows a nine per cent fall on Friday​.

Chris Saint, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Currency, said: “It’s a sea of red for sterling again as investor sentiment continues to sour after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.”

More than £40bn was wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies.​ This followed a £45bn crash on Friday.​

The FTSE 100 Index plunged back below the 6,000 mark, slipping 2.6​ per cent​ to 5,982.2, despite Mr Osborne offering his assurances that the UK is “about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces”.

​Yorkshire’s biggest firms took another battering.​

​​Shares in Yorkshire’s biggest PLC, York-based housebuilder Persimmon, tumbled 14 per cent to close down 210p at 1,310p. This followed a 28 per cent decline on Friday as analysts warned that the housing market will be hit hard by the Brexit decision.

Chris Schutrups, ​m​anaging ​d​irector of The Mortgage Hut warned that housebuilders are also facing a shortage of skilled foreign workers ​following the vote​.

​Jonathan Hopper, managing director of the buying agents Garrington Property Finders,​ said:​ “Without renewed stimulus, Britain’s property market faces a​ ​hard reset and a Darwinian future of victims, survivors and predators.”

​A recent entrant to the FTSE 100, Bradford-based credit lender Provident Financial saw its shares tumble 12 per cent to close down 287p at 2,164p. This followed an 16 per cent fall on Friday.

Leeds-based International Personal Finance, another credit lender and a top-10 Yorkshire PLC, saw its shares fall 10 per cent to close down 26p at 231p. This followed a 13 per cent rumble on Friday.

Analyst ​Daoud Fakhri​ at​ Verdict Financial​ said: “Demand for home finance will inevitably be dented, as consumers react to the uncertainty generated by the vote by postponing major spending decisions.”

Shares in Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons fell five per cent, down 8p to 17.5p after analysts said an impending recession will hit consumer spending.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said a prolonged fall in the value of the pound will affect import costs and ultimately consumer prices. Morrisons’ fall follows a four per cent decline on Friday.

UK banks also took another big hit.

Royal Bank of Scotland briefly plunged to its lowest level since 2009, before finishing more than 15​ per cent​ down at 174.3p.

RBS, which is 73​ per cent​ owned by the taxpayer, and Barclays saw their shares suspended for five minutes as automatic circuit breakers sprung into action when they dropped more than 8​ per cent​.​ ​Shares in Barclays finished 17​ per cent​ lower at 26.7p.

​Lloyds, which owns the Halifax, lost 10 per cent to close at 51p.​

Experts said that ​Lloyds Banking Group, which owns the Halifax, and Royal Bank of Scotland could remain part-owned by the taxpayer for years to come after the stock market chaos caused by Brexit.

Away from the top tier, the FTSE 250​, which is​ seen as a better barometer of UK business than the FTSE 100​,​ slumped nearly 7​ per cent​ to 14,967.86.

​​​​Elland-based​ ​​landscape products firm Marshalls ​saw its shares tumble 16 per cent to 213p and Sheffield-based insulation firm SIG saw 13 per cent wiped off its shares to close at 105p. Both were hit by the ramifications for the housing market.