Market Report: Silver surges to five-month high and ASOS buy Topshop brands for £265m

The Market Report with Katie Pilbeam. FTSE 100 started the week higher after a horrendous end on Friday amid high volatility caused by the GameStop/Reddit rush. London’s leading index advanced 47 points to 6,456 in early trading.

Silver companies were the latest beneficiaries of the anti-short selling Reddit brigade, with accusations the price of the metal was being artificially depressed.  The silver price jumped to a five-month high on the back of social media calls for a co-ordinated buying campaign.

ASOS PLC (LON:ASC) has acquired Arcadia’s Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands for £265mln. Thousands of job losses are on the cards as the online retailer will not incorporate the store estate.

AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) has agreed to deliver an extra 9mln COVID-19 vaccine doses to the EU to make up for a massive shortfall in promised supplies. Teething problems at manufacturing plants caused friction between the pharma giant and the bloc.

The UK government meanwhile is expected to announce that all care home residents in England have been offered the jab. It means the UK is on track for its mid-February target of covering the first four priority groups.

Among the small caps, 88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) confirmed it is expected to spud the Merlin-1 exploration well in Alaska, as it has now landed approval for its permit to drill. The company said that the permit was deemed complete on January 28.

BATM PLC (LON:BVC) said strong demand for its coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostics products will mean sales and profits coming in well ahead of forecasts. The London-listed tech group expects revenue for full-year 2020 to be at least US$180mln, which is annual growth of over 45%

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