Stocks End Higher as Retail Trading Frenzy Ebbs, Nasdaq Jumps 2.6%

Stocks rise as the anxiety about volatile retail trading ebbs with day traders turning their attention to precious metals.
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Stocks finished higher Monday as the anxiety about volatile retail trading, particularly in shares of GameStop  (GME) - Get Report and AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get Report, ebbed with day traders turning their attention to precious metals.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 229 points, or 0.76%, to 30,211, the S&P 500 rose 1.61% and the Nasdaq jumped 2.55%. 

Leading the Dow higher were Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report, up 3.3%, Visa  (V) - Get Report, up 2.6%, and Intel  (INTC) - Get Report, up 2.1%.

Both Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report and Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report traded higher ahead of their earnings reports scheduled for Tuesday.

Silver prices settled higher Monday as the Reddit mania surrounding heavily shorted stocks spread to the metals market. Futures surged as much as 13% over the weekend, with silver crossing $30 an ounce for the first time since 2013.

The March silver contract settled at $29.32 on Monday, up 9.3%.

People on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum have pounced on silver and the iShares Silver Trust ETF  (SLV) - Get Report, with traders seeing it as a way to hurt big banks, which they say have been artificially suppressing prices.

BlackRock's  (BLK) - Get Report iShares Silver Trust, the largest exchange-traded product tracking the metal, recorded net inflows of $944 million on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

GameStop finished down 31% on Monday while shares of AMC ended up 0.3%.

Trading in the two stocks remained restricted Monday on Robinhood, the online trading app. But restrictions on GameStop were eased Monday, allowing investors to add 20 shares to their existing aggregate positions and 20 for options contracts. For AMC the restrictions were set at 350 shares and 350 options contracts.

The continued retail-trading frenzy sent stocks sharply lower on Friday. The S&P 500 posted its biggest weekly decline since October.

On the stimulus front, 10 Republican senators proposed a coronavirus relief plan of about $600 billion an an alternative to the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion package.

President Joe Biden invited the senators to the White House for a Monday meeting to discuss the counterproposal, reports say.

In addition to Amazon and Alphabet, earnings reports are expected this week from United Parcel Service  (UPS) - Get Report, Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report, Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Report, Merck  (MRK) - Get Report and Ford  (F) - Get Report.

Amazon, Alphabet, Ford and UPS are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.