Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday there was no discussion on currency moves at his meeting with U.S. He also said the two agreed on the need to achieve sustainable economic growth in Japan and the United States as the euro-zone economy stagnates. Aso made the remarks after meeting with Lew on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance leaders' weekend gathering in the Australian city of Cairns.
British markets rallied and the rest of Europe followed suit on Friday as Scotland's decision to stay in the United Kingdom eased investors past the latest in a recent run of global political obstacles. With almost all the votes in, the camp for Scotland to remain in the UK was ahead 55 percent to 45 percent, an outcome likely to bring relief to a number of countries in Europe, particularly Spain, which is facing similar secessionist pressures in Catalonia. Sterling (GBP=D4) jumped to a two-week high against the dollar, a two-year peak against the euro, London's FTSE (.FTSE) share index hit a two-week high and Spanish stocks (.IBEX) and bonds Sentiment was also underpinned by news that Chinese internet giant Alibaba (BABA.N) priced its IPO at $68 a share on Thursday, the top end of the expected range that raises $21.8 billion in one of the world's largest-ever stock offerings.
At that price, the IPO, one of the largest-ever, would give Alibaba a market valuation of $167.6 billion, surpassing American corporate icons from Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) to Boeing Co (BA.N). “I’d put them (Alibaba) in a class of Facebook and Google with the scale they have, growth prospects and profitability," said Scot Wingo, CEO of e-commerce software provider ChannelAdvisor. An Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters found that 88 percent of Americans had never heard of the Chinese e-commerce company, which is responsible for 80 percent of online sales in the world's second largest economy and works with a number of businesses there including consumer online marketplace Taobao and payment service Alipay. Keen to buy into China's rapid growth and evolving Internet sector, investors have been clamoring to get shares since top executives at Alibaba, including Ma, kicked off the road show last week.