Wall Street experienced a rollercoaster ride last week with heightened speculative trading driving severe volatility. Shares of GameStop jumped around 400% in heavy trading during the week, fueled by Reddit posts. The stock of this dying company with an outdated business model spiked after retail traders came together to push share prices higher after reading about institutional investors shorting the stock.
Meanwhile, the latest covid-19 vaccine trials by Johnson & Johnson also disappointed markets, as the vaccine candidate exhibited low efficacy, especially for variants of the coronavirus.
Performance of US Indices
US stocks plummeted on Friday, with all three major indices recording their worst weekly losses since October. Market sentiment was also dampened by news of the US economy expanding by an annualized rate of 4% in the fourth quarter, versus record GDP growth of 33.4% in the previous quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 620.74 points to settle at 29,982.62 on Friday, closing below the 30,000 level for the first time since December 14. The 30-stock index shed 3.3% last week, recording a 2% loss for January. The S&P 500 declined 1.9% to 3,714 on Friday, down 3.3% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite moved lower by 2% to 13,070.69 on the last trading day of the month, notching a weekly loss of 3.5%.
Top US Stocks of the Week
Shares of Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) surged around 132% on Monday amid rising interest from retail investors. The stock added 235% last week.
GameStop Corp’s (NYSE: GME) shares jumped sharply last week amid increased volatility. The stock gained a whopping 400% during the week.
Koss Corporation’s (NASDAQ: KOSS) shares spiked by a jaw-dropping 1,817% last week.
Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AMC) traded sharply higher last week by 278% amid investor attention on social media.
Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) stock gained 3% last week, with the company reporting better-than-expected Q2 results.
Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) plummeted 3.5% on Thursday, despite the company posting a blowout quarter. Shares of the iPhone maker lost 5% last week.
Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ: FB) shares declined around 3% on Thursday, despite the social-media giant reporting upbeat quarterly results. The stock lost 6% last week.
Performance of European Indices
European markets closed lower on Friday amid speculative trading by retail investors. Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency issued its approval for AstraZeneca’s vaccine for emergency use in the bloc.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 1.9% on Friday, with retail stocks being among the worst performing. The European index shed 3.1% last week. London’s FTSE 100 index closed lower by 1.8% on Friday, recording a decline of 4.3% for the week. The German DAX 30 fell 3.2%, while the French CAC 40 lost 2.9% last week.
Top European Stocks of the Week
Shares of EQT jumped over 14% on Tuesday after the Swedish firm reported upbeat full-year profits and announced plans to acquire Exeter Property Group.
Naturgy’s shares surged more than 15% on Tuesday after IFM Global Infrastructure Fund made an offer of €5 billion to buy a stake in the Spanish utility firm.
Diageo’s shares spiked over 3% on Thursday after the company reported an increase in underlying net sales during the first half of its fiscal year.
Shares of Ericsson climbed around 8% on Friday after the telecoms company exceeded profit expectations for the fourth quarter.
The Forex Market
The US dollar recorded gains versus the Japanese yen last week, following upbeat durable goods data from the US and some improvement in covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. The USD/JPY added 0.9% last week.
The euro fell versus the US dollar last week amid covid-19 vaccine supply issues. The European Union announced temporary restrictions on the export of vaccines manufactured within the region. Rising covid-19 cases and restrictions also weighed on market sentiment. The EUR/USD lost 0.3% during the week.
The Crypto Market
Bitcoin rose sharply on Friday, gaining around 11% to reach $37,113. The crypto king was unable to hold onto the gains however and fell towards $33,200 over the weekend.