European stocks rallied to the highest level since January 2008, with the U.K. benchmark gauge trading near a 14-year high, as Scotland voted to reject independence from Great Britain. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also rose.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc rose at least 2 percent each, leading a gauge of lenders to a three-month high. Vivendi SA advanced 1 percent after agreeing to sell its Brazilian broadband unit GVT to Telefonica SA. SAP SE fell 2.3 percent after the biggest maker of business-management software agreed to buy Concur Technologies Inc.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.8 percent to 350.39 at 9:11 a.m. in London. The number of shares changing hands in the gauge’s companies was almost three times the 30-day average for this time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The FTSE 100 Index gained 0.6 percent to 6,857.82, near a 14-year high of 6,878.49 reached on May 14.
“We’re seeing a relief rally,” Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland, said. “I’m still bullish on the equity market. After a sideways market since the beginning of September, it seems we’re breaking out to the upside. Look at Japan, China and U.S. Even Europe looks not that bad. There is still money around to be invested.”
Scotland voted to remain in the U.K. after an independence referendum that put the future of the 307-year-old union on a knife edge and risked years of political and financial turmoil. About 55 percent of Scottish voters supported the pro-union campaign, compared with 45 percent who backed a split.
The Stoxx 600 extended its advance this week to 1.8 percent, building on gains after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated U.S. interest rates won’t increase any time soon. The FTSE 100 is heading for a weekly gain of 0.8 percent, after falling on the first three days of the week amid the uncertainty surrounding the Scottish vote.
A measure of expected volatility in euro-area stocks, based on options prices, tumbled 9.5 percent to the lowest level since July. A similar index for FTSE 100-listed stocks plunged 30 percent.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index both climbed 0.3 percent today.
RBS gained 3.5 percent to 369.7 pence and Lloyds rose 2 percent to 77.4 pence. Both lenders had said they would shift their domicile out of Scotland if the country voted for independence. A gauge of European lenders added 0.8 percent.
Aggreko Plc rose 1.9 percent to 1,638 pence, while Babcock International Group Plc increased 2.2 percent to 1,088 pence.
Vivendi (VIV) advanced 1 percent to 19.66 euros. The Paris-based media company will sell GVT for 4.66 billion euros ($6 billion) in cash, a 7.4 percent stake in the combination of the companies’ Brazilian businesses and a 5.7 percent stake in Telecom Italia SpA, according to a statement.
Waertsilae Oyj added 1.7 percent to 36.70 euros. Investor AB, the holding company of Sweden’s Wallenberg family, raised its stake in Waertsilae, acquiring 15.8 million shares in the Finnish power-plant and ship-engine maker for about 639 million euros ($824 million).
SAP retreated 2.3 percent to 58.52 euros. The world’s biggest maker of business-management software agreed to pay $129 a share for Concur, a 20 percent premium over the Sept. 17 closing price, in a deal valued at about $7.4 billion. The deal gives SAP a developer of software that helps businesses manage travel expenses.