[Ticker] First major United Kingdom town votes to leave EU

LONDON, June 24 Sterling plunged against major currencies on Friday after the United Kingdom referendum vote count in the north-eastern city of Sunderland showed a stronger-than-expected vote in favour of taking Britain out of the European Union.

Across Surrey, 52% of the population voted "Remain" while 48% chose to "Leave" the EU. The broad trends indicate that the side in favour of Brexit, or Britain's exit from the European Union, was showing a stronger than expected performance than initially expected.

A supporter stands by a sign at the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro, Britain May 11, 2016. In Newcastle, just 21 km away, Remain prevailed by 50.7 per cent to 49.3 per cent with turnout of almost 68 per cent, EFE news agency reported.

The markets reacted to the uncertainty with the pound surging as the polls closed last night, before falling dramatically. Final results will be announced Friday morning.

There has been much speculation about how the final outcome would impact David Cameron's own political future as Prime Minister.

Senior sources on both sides of the vote are telling the BBC that they expect a victory.

Immigration had been the central theme throughout and expected to swing most of the votes in favour of Brexit.

In some areas, booths had to be shut and moved to a different location due to water-logging but the general spirit remained on a high throughout the day.

Bonds also sold off sharply, pushing United Kingdom government borrowing costs sharply higher, as traders and investors grappled with the market implications of "Brexit". A total of 19,332 eligible voters in the region voted for Remain while 832 voted for Leave, with the turnover amounting to 83 percent, the committee said, citing media reports. Plus, aside from the YouGov poll, United Kingdom broadcasters have not commissioned traditional "exit polls" such as those run after a general election.

"Those big money bets in the lead-up to yesterday's vote look to have been rather premature", said Michael Hewson, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Pound sterling fell sharply by 9.3 per cent over the past three hours after early voting results from the British "Brexit" referendum showed the "Leave" camp leading in Sunderland and some other areas.

Numerous hedge funds had commissioned their own exclusive exit polls at a cost of up to 500,000 pounds, which asked people how they voted on their way out of polling stations. Opinion polls were suggesting a Remain win.