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European Stocks Higher; Reddit Horde Shifts Focus to Silver

Published 02/01/2021, 03:52 AM
Updated 02/01/2021, 03:53 AM
© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded higher Monday, rebounding after last week’s selloff as the army of retail investors that squeezed hedge funds' short equity positions last week shifts its focus to silver.

At 4 AM ET (0900 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 1.2% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 1% and the U.K.'s FTSE index climbed 0.8%. 

Global stocks posted their biggest weekly drop in around three months last week, partly on the turmoil fueled by retail traders organizing over online forums to take on hedge funds by buying heavily-shorted stocks, such as GameStop (NYSE:GME) and AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC).

Such pressure appears to have eased, as the focus of the newly-empowered day traders now seems to have shifted towards silver, which has jumped 6% to a six-month high. This has helped miners, including Fresnillo (LON:FRES), Polymetal (LON:POLYP) and Boliden (ST:BOL), to post early stock gains.

The corporate earnings season has continued Monday. 

Ryanair (LON:RYA) stock rose 0.6% after the budget airline said it remains cash rich and expects a “reasonable summer” despite forecasting it will lose close to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in its current financial year as the Covid lockdowns hit air traffic.

BP (NYSE:BP) stock rose 0.1% after the oil major agreed to sell a 20% stake in its Oman interest for $2.6 billion. Siemens Healthineers (DE:SHLG) stock rose 1.3% after posting a rise in its first quarter net profit, while Klepierre (PA:LOIM) stock slumped 5.7% after the French real estate trust said 70% of its portfolio had been hit by the lockdowns.

In economic data, German retail sales slumped 9.6% on the month in December, as lockdowns hit consumer spending in Europe’s largest economy. The day's other big release in Europe, the Eurozone manufacturing PMI, was more resilient, edging up to 54.8, defying expectations for a slight drop thanks to improvements in France and Italy..

The U.K. issued a record number of Covid-19 vaccines on Saturday, bringing the total number of people to have received their first dose to just short of 9 million.

The rollout of vaccines throughout most EU countries has been less impressive, prompting a diplomatic spat late last week when the EU Commision announced it would impose export controls on vaccines, potentially creating a border between Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, and EU member Ireland.

This decision was quickly reversed, but is indicative of the mistrust between the two sides after the tempestuous long-running Brexit talks.

Oil prices edged higher Monday on hopes that the recent surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide has peaked, as well as on output cuts by Saudi Arabia. U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% higher at $52.61 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 1% to $55.57. 

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.8% to $1,864.60/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% lower at 1.2095.

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