Markets rally as Scotland votes to stay

Investors breathed a deep sigh of relief Friday as Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom, averting months of turmoil that would have hurt the economy.

Results from the historic referendum showed 55% voted against independence in Thursday’s ballot, a clearer margin than expected.

Stock markets rose, with shares in Scottish companies doing particularly well. The FTSE 100 index gained 0.7% in morning trading.

“The risk of huge disruption from Scottish independence is gone. Not for goodbut for a considerable time,” noted Robert Wood, chief U.K. economist at Berenberg bank. “For now markets can return to normal.

The pound got an early bounce before slipping back against the U.S. dollar. It was steady against the euro.

The U.K. currency had already rallied this week, recovering much of the ground lost in early September when surveys suggested Scotland was on the brink of ending its 307-year union with England.

Central bank action will again take center stage for currency dealers.

“Markets can refocus on monetary policy divergence, and as the Federal Reserve marches towards the exit from QE … the dollar will rally,” said Kit Juckes, strategist at Societe Generale.