Global shares rise on hot Alibaba IPO, sterling up after Scots vote

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares edged higher on Friday, cheered by news of an eye-popping initial public offering by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, while sterling rebounded after a survey published showed support for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom.

Alibaba Group Holding priced its IPO at $68 a share, the top end of the expected range, raising $21.8 billion on Thursday - one of the largest-ever stock offerings.

Sterling was up about 0.1 percent at $1.6425, after it rose to a two-week high against the dollar of $1.6461. A YouGov survey carried out on the day of the Scottish referendum showed support for independence amounted to 46 percent of the electorate, while 54 percent wanted to remain in the United Kingdom.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.1 percent in early trade, bolstered by Wall Street's cheer, where both the benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average set intraday record highs.

Japan's Nikkei stock average added 0.7 percent, getting a tailwind from a weaker currency after the dollar pushed to a new six-year high of 108.96 yen on Thursday.

The dollar index , which tracks the U.S. unit against a basket of six major rivals, stood at 84.267 after it climbed as high as 84.743 on Thursday, its strongest level in more than four years.

The euro was steady at $1.2918 after refreshing a 14-month low on Thursday, dropping as low as $1.2834.

Risk sentiment was tempered by geopolitical clouds on the horizon. The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a bill requested by President Barack Obama to train and arm of moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants, which now goes to Obama to sign into law.

Obama said the strong bipartisan support showed Americans were united in the fight against Islamic State militants.

"The emergence of the militant group ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and recent increase in efforts to fight it, has ushered in a new era of geopolitical risk" in the Middle East and North Africa, strategists at Barclays wrote in a client note.

"We think the stage seems set for a prolonged period of heightened regional uncertainty, with risks potentially spilling over into global oil markets and other economies and financial markets in the region," they said.

U.S. crude edged up about 0.1 percent to $1.35 to $93.11 a barrel, pressured by the weaker greenback, which makes dollar-priced commodities such as oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Spot gold steadied at $1.225.40 an ounce early on Friday after fall to $1,216.01 in the previous session, its lowest since Jan. 2 on speculation about an earlier-than-expected U.S. interest rate hike.


(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)