Stocks climb in calmer trading, while silver prices jump
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks were modestly higher in morning trading, following a bumpy week that left the market with its worst weekly loss since October.
Investors large and small continued to focus on GameStop and other stocks targeted by online traders hoping to inflict damage on hedge funds.
Investors are also watching negotiations in Washington over President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic aid package. Hopes for aid, along with the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep low-cost credit plentiful, have carried the S&P 500 and other major indexes to record highs.
Silver rose as much as 10% after traders who drove up GameStop turned their attention to metals.
Wall Street’s GameStop bug may have mutated; silver surges
NEW YORK (AP) – The erratic trading in shares of underdog companies like GameStop that turned markets combustible last week appears to have migrated to commodities, sending silver prices surging to an eight-year high.
Silver futures jumped almost 12% on Monday to over $30 per ounce following strong gains over the weekend. Shares of Hecla Mining spiked 21.8%.
On Twitter, hash-tag silversqueeze began to trend as just the latest anomaly to emerge from the “WallStreetBets” forum on Reddit.
The online army of Reddit traders have banded together to pour money into out-of-favor companies such as GameStop and AMC. In the process, they’ve done heavy damage to hedge funds that had bet the shares would fall in a stunning reversal of financial power on Wall Street.
US factories grew in January, but at a slower pace
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – American factories grew in January, but at slower pace than the previous month.
The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its gauge of manufacturing activity fell to 58.7% in January from 60.7% the previous month. The December reading was the index’s highest since it stood at 60.8% in August 2018. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.
The January figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the eighth straight month after contracting in March, April, and May. The U.S. economy was broadsided by the coronavirus outbreak from April through June, but since then manufacturing has largely recovered.
US construction spending up 1% in December led by housing
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending rose a moderate 1% in December as strength in home building offset continued weakness in nonresidential construction.
The Commerce Department reported Monday that the December increase followed a 1.1% gain in November. Last month’s strength came from a 3.1% jump in spending on residential projects with spending on single-family homes surging by 5.8%.
The rise in home building offset a 1.7% decline in nonresidential construction which had declines in hotel and motel construction and in the category that includes shopping centers.
CBO projects 4.6% growth in Biden’s first year, jobs lag
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Congressional Budget Office expects the U.S. economy will grow at a 4.6% annual rate this year, but with employment not returning to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
The 10-year outlook issued Monday said the economic recovery from the coronavirus has been boosted by an unprecedented wave of government spending to combat the outbreak. While the growth estimates suggest a quick snapback in gross domestic product, the CBO shows that hiring will lag as consumer spending returns and employers become more comfortable with adding workers.
The CBO projected an average of 521,000 jobs will be added monthly this year, a pace that would fall to 145,000 in 2022.
UK orders more Valneva vaccine to prepare for repeated jabs
LONDON (AP) – The U.K. has ordered another 40 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the French company Valneva as the government prepares for the likelihood that repeated vaccinations will be needed to keep the virus in check.
Britain had previously ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine and retains an option for 90 million more.
If the U.K. exercises all of its options, the company says, Valneva’s deliveries would continue through 2025. The vaccine, which will be made in Scotland, is still undergoing clinical trials and hasn’t been approved by regulators.
Britain has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak with over 106,000 victims.
Masks, social distancing and speed: Snowmobiles enjoy boom
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Americans’ desire to get outdoors during the pandemic despite the winter cold is creating a season unlike any in more than two decades for the snowmobiling industry.
From Maine to Montana, it’s becoming difficult to find a new snowmobile for sale. And the rental fleets are booked up.
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association said U.S. represents the world’s biggest market for snowmobiles and Canada isn’t far behind. Together they combine for more than $30 billion in annual sales.