FTSE 100 set to rise as Reddit activists target silver market and BP sells large stake in Oman gas field

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The FTSE 100 Index was on the verge of making small gains at the start of today’s session as it emerged that the Reddit retail investor groups had targeted the silver market for their latest attack. .

The past week has been dominated by so-called Reddit traders who bought stock options in struggling companies like GameStop and American Airlines to drive up prices and force short sellers to buy stocks to meet market demand. margin calls.

Today it emerged that they had switched to exchange-traded funds tracking the price of silver in hopes that the rise would force those who sold them to buy the metal in the same way.

The iShares Silver Trust recorded nearly $ 1 billion in investments on Friday, according to its sponsor BlackRock, after a Reddit user posted on the WallStreetBets forum, urging people to buy stocks and options to exercise pressure on banks.

US silver miners increased at the end of last week and the trend is expected to continue in Europe today. FTSE 100 Fresnillo miner, for example, could see gains if the trend continues.

Friday’s money transfer to the Silver Trust was the largest since its launch in 2006.

IG Index traders were anticipating small gains for the FTSE of 17 points to 6426. Asian markets were strong this morning and are expected to continue in Europe today, CMC Markets said. Its traders have the FTSE up 19 at Dax in Germany up 119 to 13,545 and the CAC 40 in France up 41 to 5,440.

BP could win after announcing earlier today that it would sell a 20% stake in Oman’s largest gas project for $ 2.6 billion. The Thai PTTEP will buy the stake in the site called Block 61, while BP will keep 40% and continue to operate the field.

The first phase of development of block 61, Khazzan, started production in 2017, and Ghazeer, the second phase, at the end of last year.

Analysts will likely see the sale as a milestone in BP’s divestment program.

The week, however, is expected to be dominated by the impact of Reddit traders on financial markets after the events of last week saw Apple and Microsoft’s stellar numbers ignored.

Analysts fear that the “old guard disruption” of Reddit’s impact, as CMC Markets’ David Madden put it, will continue as stock prices lose touch with the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of companies and actives.

Some investors would argue that big tech stocks lost touch with reality a long time ago.

Amazon and Alphabet – the owner of Google – are releasing their numbers this week, Madden reminds us.

AstraZeneca’s actions will once again be in the spotlight as the European Union seeks to blame it for the Commission’s failures to provide adequate Covid vaccines. Its shares rose from 7966p to 7491p during last week’s uproar that saw the EU accuse it of lying about production levels so it can sell more in the UK and have a relatively ineffective vaccine for them. older patients.

French President Macron said on Friday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was “almost ineffective” in those over 65 and even over 60. Germany limits its use to the youngest.

Such statements and actions are in direct opposition to the peer-reviewed study on the drug Oxford-AstraZeneca published in Lancet magazine some time ago and seemed totally unfounded, let alone questions about why the Commission claims to have been so disappointed with AstraZeneca’s production delays.

Some observers might be tempted to ask: if Europe thinks the vaccine is so ugly, why all the fuss?

Chinese manufacturing data over the weekend produced a PMI score of 51.3 for January. Anything over 50 represents growth, but the number is down slightly from December’s 51.9. Another industry survey this morning, the Caixin, got a score of 51.5, slightly lower than expected and down from 53 the previous month.


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