HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets rose Friday following a record close on Wall Street, while the pound rallied against other major currencies after Scottish voters 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 1.58 per cent, or 253.60 points, to 16,321.17, its highest close since November 2007, while Sydney added 0.32 per cent, or 17.3 points, to 5,433.1 and Seoul advanced 0.30 per cent, or 6.08 points, to 2,053.82.
Shanghai finished 0.58 per cent higher, adding 13.52 points to 2,329.45, while Hong Kong gained 0.57 per cent, or 137.44 points, to 24,306.16.
Traders bought into the pound early on as results filtered through showing Scottish voters were likely to reject independence, soothing fears about the economic impact on the United Kingdom.
However, it retreated later in the day, even after it was confirmed the campaign against a UK break-up had been successful.
The euro tumbled to 0.7810 pounds in Tokyo, its lowest level since July 2012, while sterling rallied to $1.6525 and a six-year high of 180.71 yen.
But later in the day the euro stood at 0.7840 pounds, while the pound pulled back to $1.6450 and 179.42 yen.
“Scotland has voted against independence overnight in a move that has removed a great weight from the shoulders of sterling,” said economist Simon Smith at trading group FxPro.
Buying sentiment had already been given a boost after Wall Street clocked up more healthy gains.
The Dow climbed 0.64 per cent to its second successive record, while the S&P 500 gained 0.49 per cent a new all-time high, while the Nasdaq added 0.68 per cent.
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 109.10 yen in Tokyo, up from 108.68 yen in New York and nearing the 110 yen mark last seen in August 2008.
In oil markets US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery fell 52 cents to $92.55 while Brent crude for November eased 40 cents to $97.30 in afternoon trade.
Gold was at $1,221.43 an ounce, against $1,223.70 an ounce late Thursday.