By PAN PYLAS
LONDON (AP) â¿¿ The price of silver was the standout mover in financial markets Monday as it took a hammering for the second trading session in a row, even as stocks remained relatively solid amid hopes over the U.S. economy.
By late-afternoon London time, the metal's price was down 3.8 percent to $21.66 an ounce. Earlier in the session, it had fallen over 7 percent to $20.25, its lowest level since September 2010.
Commodity prices have suffered in recent weeks as investors preferred to put their money in stock markets. Gold has dropped the most, but silver often falls in its slipstream. The price of gold was also lower Monday, down 1.6 percent at $1,364 an ounce.
Aside from investors' preference for other assets, commodities have struggled for other reasons too, including fears that indebted eurozone countries may sell some of their gold reserves to raise money.
Weak inflation â¿¿ in spite of huge money-creation policies by many of the world's leading central banks â¿¿ has also taken its toll. Commodities, especially gold, are used as a store of value when inflation fears grow.
"Growing evidence of falling inflation in Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the world has prompted investors to lighten their holdings in both gold and silver in the past few weeks," said Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets.
Elsewhere, stocks were subdued amid a dearth of economic data. But even though many stock indexes around the world have either hit record highs or multiyear peaks, investors have so far refrained from widespread profit-taking â¿¿ a sign of underlying strength.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.5 percent at 6,755 â¿¿ its highest level since mid-2000. Germany's DAX, which has set a series of all-time highs, rose 0.7 percent to 8,455. The CAC-40 in France was 0.5 percent lower at 4,022.