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* iShares Silver Trust ETF set for best day since 2008
* Wall Street’s fear gauge eases from 3-month high
* Indexes up: Dow 0.78%, S&P 0.1.34%, Nasdaq 1.95% (Adds comment; updates prices)
Feb 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes climbed on Monday following a steep sell-off last week, as a shift in the retail trading frenzy to silver drove up mining stocks and investors monitored progress in talks over economic stimulus.
The iShares Silver Trust ETF, the largest silver-backed ETF, jumped 7.2% as silver broke above $30 an ounce for the first time since 2013 with an army of retail traders storming into the metal after betting billions of dollars on stocks last week.
Silver miners Hecla Mining Co, Coeur Mining Inc and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp surged between 5% and 26%.
Wall Street’s main indexes last week logged their steepest weekly fall since October, as investors digested efficacy data from Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine trial results, while a slugfest between Wall Street hedge funds and retail investors added to volatility.
The CBOE volatility index eased on Monday from three-month highs that were fueled by a surge in shares of GameStop Corp, AMC Entertainment Holdings and others that burnt hedge funds which had bet against the companies. GameStop was down about 18%, while AMC jumped another 8% on Monday.
“It’s just a relief rally after the sharp decline on Friday,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
The wild swings in the so-called “meme” stocks dominated news on Wall Street last week, even as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and other corporate heavyweights reported quarterly results.
Focus now turns towards quarterly earnings from Amazon.com Inc and Google-owner Alphabet Inc on Tuesday to wrap up results from the so-called FAANG group. The NYSE FANG+TM index gained 1.6%.
President Joe Biden will meet 10 moderate Republican senators on Monday to discuss their proposal to shrink his sweeping $1.9 trillion U.S. COVID-19 relief package, even as Democrats prepare to push legislation through Congress without Republican support.
“Democrats could force through the larger package through resolution and based on the noise out of the administration, that may be the path that they’re going to take,” said Phillip Toews, chief executive officer and portfolio manager for Toews Corp in New York.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced, with technology leading gains. Energy and consumer staples lagged the most.
At 11:41 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 234.49 points, or 0.78%, to 30,216.76, the S&P 500 gained 49.88 points, or 1.34%, to 3,764.12 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 254.82 points, or 1.95%, to 13,325.52.
The latest ISM survey was mixed as U.S. manufacturing activity slowed slightly in January, while a measure of prices paid by factories for raw materials and other inputs jumped to its highest level in nearly 10 years.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.6-to-1 on the NYSE and by a 2.2-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted four new 52-week highs and no new low while the Nasdaq recorded 88 new highs and 21 new lows. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)