SCOTTISH companies led the way in a market rally as the Scottish independence vote was quashed and investors ruled out a flurry of headquarters relocations in the financial sector.
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland surged three per cent while energy provider SSE, Glasgow-based engineer Weir and Standard Life were up by around two per cent in early trading.
RBS, along with rival Lloyds Banking Group and insurance firm Standard Life, had indicated that it would consider a move south if Scotland opted to split from the United Kingdom.
The FTSE 100 Index was 45.5 points higher at 6865 - a rise of 0.5 per cent but short of the 100-point surge predicted earlier in the morning - as the No vote removed a long period of uncertainty for investors.
The pound also enjoyed a surge, climbing by almost one per cent overnight to as high as 1.65 against the US dollar as traders reacted to the first poll results showing support for the No campaign. The pound gave up some of the gains later but is still much improved on the 10-month low of just above 1.60 seen two weeks ago.
Chris Williams, chief executive of online investment advice service, Wealth Horizon, said: “The uncertainty around the outcome of the referendum has been playing on the minds of investors over the last couple of months, many of whom were wary of what impact independence for Scotland might have on the markets.
“Today we hope to see things return very much back to normal. We have already seen sterling rally strongly in the currency market and expect that the FTSE will see similar movements throughout the day as domestic and global investors alike, reaffirm their faith in the buoyant UK economy”.