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LONDON - European shares opened sharply higher Friday after Scottish voters rejected independence. The FTSE opened up 0.5 percent higher, with the broader FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.8 percent. The argument over whether an independent Scotland could keep the pound sterling currency had been raging for months, and U.K. banks and Scottish-based firms have seen dips in stock prices. In the wake of the vote, shares in Aberdeen Asset Management were up 1.2 percent, while Lloyds banking group gained 2.1 percent and Royal Bank of Scotland rose 3.3 percent in early trading Friday.
Meanwhile, the pound sterling currency spiked on the news. The pound had dipped to below 1.62 against the dollar just a few weeks ago with polls showing that the pro-independence campaign had taken a narrow lead. The currency appreciated in recent days in anticipation of the union staying together. By 6:00 a.m. London time (1 a.m. ET), sterling climbed to 1.6467 against the dollar after trading at around 1.63 on Thursday. Against the euro it also reached a two-year high on Friday morning.