NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks barrelled higher on Thursday, joining most global bourses in rallying, as Britain voted in a hard-fought campaign on whether to leave the European Union.
With polls suggesting the referendum could go either way, analysts said investors positioned for a "Remain" outcome after polls showed the pro-EU camp gaining ground this week. Stocks fell much of last week when it looked as though "Leave" would prevail.
Sectors that enjoyed large gains included banks, energy and technology.
"Today is merely about hedging and preparing the portfolio," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.
"Today is one day, and most of the fireworks will be tomorrow, up or down."
At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,008.47, up 1.3 per cent.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.3 per cent to 2,113.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.6 per cent to 4,910.04.