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02 Feb 2021 | 12:33

Sector movers: Retailers and homebuilders pace gains as Covid-19 cases continue to retreat

(Sharecast News) - Retailers and Household goods and Home Construction issues paced gains at the start of the week and month, helped by news of continued sharp falls in the rates of new Covid-19 infections.

According to John Hopkins University, the number of novel coronavirus cases being reported had dropped by 60% since the latest lockdown measures kicked-in on 4 January.

In parallel, on Sunday alone fully 1.1% of the country's adult population was vaccinated, prompting Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics to forecast that the UK would reach 'herd immunity' by spring.

Miners were also wanted, albeit perhaps for the wrong reason, as the mob of retail investor buying switched its focus from the most heavily-shorted stocks to silver.

March futures for the precious metal finished the US session 9.3% higher to $29.42/oz. on COMEX, having surged by over 13% during London trading hours.

So while shares of miners were up across the board, the likes of Fresnillo and Hochschild Mining found special favour.

On a related note, strategists at JP Morgan on Monday argued in favour of 'adding into the dip' in share prices, telling clients that economic data should improve "in the March-April time frame".

Indeed, they still expected risk assets to advance over the front half of 2021.

However, they said they were taking profits in miners, whilst rotating into Telecoms.

JP Morgan also pointed out how underneath the surface the correction in so-called value plays was already well advanced.

As an aside, in the same research note they double upgraded Telecoms.

Going the other way, weakness was concentrated in the oil patch, despite gains in front-dated Brent crude oil futures, likely due to traders' caution ahead of BP's fourth quarter numbers which were due out the next day.

Nevertheless, analysts at UBS were anticipating that higher than expected crude oil prices would pave the way for the oil major to restart its share repurchases in the last quarter of 2021.

Top performing sectors so far today

Food Producers 6,927.69 +2.61%

General Retailers 2,613.48 +2.42%

Automobiles & Parts 4,804.93 +2.40%

Household Goods & Home Construction 16,802.15 +2.35%

Mining 22,612.78 +2.06%

Bottom performing sectors so far today

Oil & Gas Producers 4,611.57 -1.53%

Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 15,979.91 -0.68%

Technology Hardware & Equipment 1,873.21 -0.63%

Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 5,184.72 -0.61%

Leisure Goods 25,640.11 -0.48%

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