GLOBAL MARKETS: Silver jumps, stocks slide as social trading roils market

GLOBAL MARKETS: Silver jumps, stocks slide as social trading roils market
New variants of the novel coronavirus have prolonged lockdowns and delayed expectations of an economic rebound. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 January 2021

GLOBAL MARKETS: Silver jumps, stocks slide as social trading roils market

GLOBAL MARKETS: Silver jumps, stocks slide as social trading roils market
  • Silver rallied and was up 2 percent at $26.90 an ounce

NEW YORK/LONDON: Silver prices jumped and global equity markets sank on Friday amid a growing battle on Wall Street between hedge funds and retail investors, while a dispute over COVID-19 vaccine supply in Europe cooled risk appetite.
Disappointing vaccine data from Johnson & Johnson also hurt sentiment but the assault of retail traders using online forums to force hedge funds to reverse short positions — bets that stocks will fall — kept the market on edge.
Shares of GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. surged again after Robinhood and Interactive Brokers said they planned to ease restrictions after imposing buying halts on Thursday.
GameStop soared 67.9 percent to $325 a share, five times its closing price a week ago Friday, and AMC gained 53.7 percent, both in heavy trade. AMC was one of the most active stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume on US exchanges was 16.83 billion shares, up from the 10.6 billion average in the fourth quarter.
Silver rallied and was up 2 percent at $26.90 an ounce, taking gains to almost 10 percent since messages began to circulate on Reddit early Thursday urging retail investors to pile into the market and drive up prices.
Anxiety has grown as investors ask whether hedge funds will need to liquidate other positions to address losses in stocks they have shorted, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisers in Boston.
“Once this short squeeze inevitably ends and there aren’t any more greater fools to bid up these stocks, will retail investors get stuck holding the bag?” Arone asked.
“The unintended consequences of this potential volatility have markets on edge as we end the week,” Arone said.
Arone added that investors need to take a giant step back as earnings are strong, the economy is improving, fiscal and monetary policy is supportive and vaccines are rolling out.

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets fell 1.82 percent to 642.57, while Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 1.95 percent at 1,524.1 to post its worst weekly loss, at 3.3%, since October.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.03 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.93 percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2 percent. The three indexes suffered their biggest weekly fall since the end of October.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.1 percent to post a weekly loss of 4.4 percent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.9 percent, recording its first weekly loss of the year.
Vaccine dispute
Delays in COVID-19 vaccine production have snowballed into a spat between Britain, the European Union and drugmakers over how best to direct limited supplies.
AstraZeneca Plc offered eight million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union after it unexpectedly announced supply cuts last week. But the bloc said that was far short of what was originally promised, an EU official told Reuters on Friday.
New variants of the novel coronavirus have prolonged lockdowns and delayed expectations of an economic rebound.
The US dollar retreated from its highest level since mid-November against the Japanese yen as investors rebalanced portfolios for month-end. The greenback slid 0.48 percent against the yen and traded little changed against an index of currencies, falling 0.002 percent.
Bitcoin jumped as much as 14 percent to a two-week high after Tesla Inc. chief Elon Musk tagged the cryptocurrency in his Twitter biography.
French 10-year government bond yields, which move inversely to price, rose four basis points after France’s gross domestic product contracted less than expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.
US Treasury yields rose, in line with those in Europe, after data showed inflation perked up last month, while employment costs rose, suggesting the world’s largest economy is on the mend from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The US yield curve steepened as long yields increased, with the spread between 2-year and 10-year notes hitting 98.20 basis points, the widest in about a week.
The 10-year US Treasury note rose 2.1 basis points to yield 1.0757 percent.
Oil prices traded mixed as demand concerns caused by new coronavirus variants and slow vaccine rollouts offset a cut in Saudi Arabian oil supply and falling US oil inventories.
Brent crude futures settled up 35 cents at $55.88 a barrel. US crude futures fell 14 cents to settle at $52.20 a barrel.
Spot gold prices rose 0.16 percent to $1,843.31 an ounce. US gold futures settled up 0.5 percent to $1,850.30 an ounce.


Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
Updated 33 min 32 sec ago

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
  • The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities

DUBAI: UAE export credit company, Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), has signed an agreement with Emirates NBD to improve liquidity of UAE exporters by easing their access to credit facilities.
The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities, so businesses can pursue export and expansion opportunities, according to a joint statement.
More than 80 per cent of world trade relies on trade finance, ECI’s chief Massimo Falcioni said, and the agreement will allow Emirates NBD to offer innovative financial solutions to their clients.
Governments in the Gulf have been investing in strengthening local businesses as a strategy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to gradually veer away from oil-dependence.


Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
Updated 37 min 44 sec ago

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
  • The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers

DUBAI: Italian fashion retailer Diesel has launched its own e-commerce platform for customers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the company said on Sunday.
The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers. It will also offer free shipping for customers in both countries.
Diesel has been in the market for four decades and is known for its denim and casual fashion offerings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge demand for online shopping in the Gulf, with many retailers accelerating their digital efforts to take advantage of it


Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
Updated 35 min 47 sec ago

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
  • The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group
  • COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018

DUBAI: Kuwaiti coffee delivery app COFE has raised $10 million in new funding, which it aims to use to scale up its operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK and to expand into Egypt and Turkey.
The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group. COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018.
“From its early days, COFE has shown tremendous potential as a unique offering that caters to discerning coffee connoisseurs and their consumption habits, while helping to grow and transform revenue streams for vendors. Our partners have recognized this and are confident in our ability to serve existing customers and vendors, while expanding into new markets,” Al-Ebrahim said in a press statement.
Zev Siegl, a co-founder of international coffee chain Starbucks, is also an adviser to COFE. “I am happy to collaborate with the COFE App team and proud of the success and development they’ve achieved,” Siegl told the Mubasher website in April 2019. “During my stay in Kuwait, I visited more than 20 coffee shops and I was impressed by the high level of service, innovation and the high demand on coffee shops which ensure that the COFE app market will keep on growing and will reach the international market very soon.”


Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
Updated 18 April 2021

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
  • The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force

JERUSALEM: Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defense procurement deal, which Israel said on Sunday would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries.
The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s defense ministry said.
The training center will be modeled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company Leonardo, the ministry said.
Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.
“I am certain that (this program) will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels,” said Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz.
The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation between their countries.


Dubai Islamic Bank sees no impact from NMC law suit

Dubai Islamic Bank sees no impact from NMC law suit
Updated 18 April 2021

Dubai Islamic Bank sees no impact from NMC law suit

Dubai Islamic Bank sees no impact from NMC law suit
  • Last week it emerged that NMC was suing a Dubai bank in the Abu Dhabi courts in a dispute that could complicate the company’s multi-billion-dollar debt restructuring

DUBAI: Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) said on Sunday it does not expect any “negative impact” from a case against it brought by the administrators of hospital operator NMC Group.
It made the disclosure in a letter to the Dubai Financial Market posted on the website of the bourse.
Last week it emerged that NMC was suing a Dubai bank in the Abu Dhabi courts in a dispute that could complicate the company’s multi-billion-dollar debt restructuring and potentially delay payouts to creditors, Reuters reported.
It was the latest twist in the tale of the UAE ‘s biggest hospital group which last year disclosed more than $4 billion in hidden debt. Its UAE operations were placed into administration and creditor claims are understood to now exceed $6.4 billion.
“It is a matter of public record that an application has been filed by the administrators of the NMC Group in the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Court, in which Dubai Islamic Bank and 12 insurance companies and third party service providers are respondents,” DIB CEO Hassan Al-Serkal said in the statement to the Dubai financial Market, where it’s shares are listed. “DIB does not anticipate any material negative impact arising from this application. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we can comment further at this time.”