Hong Kong (AFP) – Asian markets rose Friday following a record close on Wall Street, while the pound rallied against other major currencies as investors took early results as showing Scottish voters had rejected independence from the United Kingdom.
The surge in New York — fuelled by the Federal Reserve’s dovish comments on interest rates as well as hopes for a record US listing of online giant Alibaba — helped propel the dollar towards the 110 yen mark.
Tokyo climbed 1.45 percent by the break to its highest point of the year and close to levels not seen since 2007.
Hong Kong added 0.69 percent, Sydney gained 0.11 percent and Seoul rose 0.59 percent. However, Shanghai dipped 0.13 percent.
Traders rushed into the pound, interpreting initial returns as showing Scottish voters had rejected independence, soothing fears about the economic impact on the United Kingdom.
In early exchanges sterling was at $1.6427 against $1.6389 in New York and well up from $1.6227 in Asia earlier Thursday. At the same time the euro tumbled to 0.7809 pounds in early Tokyo trade, down from 0.7882 pounds and its lowest level since July 2012.
Sterling also jumped to a six-year high of 180.16 yen, up from 178.78 yen Thursday.
“As we await the results of the Scottish Independence vote to come through this afternoon, the (pound) is anticipating that the ‘No’ vote will win,” National Australia Bank said in a note.
Buying sentiment was already positive after Wall Street clocked up more healthy gains.
The Dow climbed 0.64 percent to its second successive record, while the S&P 500 gained 0.49 percent a new all-time high, while the Nasdaq added 0.68 percent.
Thursday’s gains added to the previous day’s rally after the Federal Reserve said it would stick to its steady-as-she-goes policy on interest rates, which would see them kept at record lows until mid-2015.
US investors were also cheered by news that Chinese online retail titan Alibaba was on course for a record $25 billion listing in New York on Friday.
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said the initial public offering “feels as though it’s going to be a success”.
The dollar jumped to 109.21 yen in Tokyo, up from 108.68 yen in New York and closing in on the 110 yen mark last seen in August 2008.
On oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery fell 20 cents to $92.87 while Brent crude for November eased 15 cents to $97.55 in mid-morning trade.
Gold was at $1,220.54 an ounce, against $1,223.70 an ounce late Thursday.
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