LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Stocks are plunging in the U.S. and worldwide Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The result stunned investors, who reacted by rushing to the safety of gold and U.S. government bonds as they wondered what will come next for Britain, Europe and the global economy.

U.S. stocks took far smaller losses than markets in Europe and Asia, but were still sharply lower. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 503 points, or 2.8 percent, to 17,508 as of 12:45 p.m. The S&P 500 is on pace for its biggest loss since last August, down 62 points, or 2.9 percent, to 2,051. The Nasdaq composite dropped 172 points, or 3.5 percent, to 4,737.

The vote brought a massive dose of uncertainty to financial markets, something investors loathe. Traders responded by dumping riskier assets that appeared to have the most to lose from disruptions in financial flows and trade: banks, technology companies and makers of basic materials.

We spoke with financial expert Mark Lamkin by phone early Friday. He says investors fear the unknown. 

"Uncertainty always kills the stock market short-term," Lamkin said. 

"Let's step back, the EU is 28 members, it's 500 million people," Lamkin said. "By many measures, it's the largest trading partner in the world. U.S. and American multi-national companies have invested 1.8 trillion Euros -- that's even more dollars. So that slows, that stops. Those companies will take a wait and see attitude. 

"Which is really important because over 50 percent of the S&P 500 -- the 500 largest companies in America -- their profits come from the EU. And it's all going to drop 1 to 5 percent on their GPD; the British pound will drop 10%. That's going to impact banking reserves, it could cause a mini-liquidity crisis. This is a big deal right now, and it's going to be a wait a see approach. But this is going to shock world markets for the next week to come."

"It means the international funds that I have, I will go to the office and take a hard look at them and whether or not I want to be in international markets right now. The U.S. consumer still has cheap gas. This is not going to fundamentally change Coca-Cola or Phillip Morris. Or even our banking institutions. So from a U.S. market perspective, we always run the risk of that 10 percent, but this is not a 2008, this is not a liquidity meltdown. This is not even a huge bear market in my opinion. Could this cause that 5 to 7 percent drop in markets that historically happens about once a year? Absolutely, but this is not a panic moment in the U.S. markets. 

"But you are going to see an ugly statement."

Mark Lamkin is a wealth management specialist and owns Lamkin Wealth Management.  He can be contacted by calling 502-961-6550 or 866-961-6550.