NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets were trading higher early Thursday afternoon, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average
The news came a day after the Federal Reserve pledged to hold down interest rates, saying it would keep rates near zero for a "considerable time." Markets also got a lift from a move by China's central bank on Thursday to cut short-term borrowing costs for banks.
The global markets also were keenly focused on developments in Scotland, where polling stations are open for potentially more than 4.2 million people to vote on whether Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom or break away as an independent country. The polling places are expected to close at 10 p.m. Edinburgh, Scotland time or 5 p.m. EDT.
Watch the video below for a look at how U.S. markets are doing in midday trading Thursday:
The vote in Scotland is expected to be a close one, with numerous economic and political implications. According to USA Today, Scottish independence would take with it "one-third of the United Kingdom's land mass, 8% of its population, about 10% of its tax revenue, and an incalculable amount of cultural and intellectual capital."
As the world watched the referendum closely, traders have surprisingly sent the British pound to fresh multi-year highs vs. the euro and multi-week highs against the greenback. David Rodriguez, quantitative strategist at DailyFX, said foreign exchange traders sent overnight volatility prices on the British pound to their highest since the last U.K. general election in 2010, unable to dismiss the threat of a major upset if Scottish voters did indeed vote for secession.