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February trading began where January left off, with volatility in stocks as Dow futures swung from down more than 200 points overnight to up over 200 points Monday morning. Starting off a new week and a new month, Wall Street was weathering concerns about the Reddit-sparked retail trading frenzy around GameStop while also focusing on Covid stimulus talks in Washington.
For January, the Dow dropped 2%; the S&P 500 fell 1%; and the Nasdaq rose 1.4%. All three benchmarks on Friday saw losses of about 2% on the final trading day of January, capping their worst weekly performances since October.
President Joe Biden is set to meet on Monday with 10 Republican senators who have proposed spending about one-third of the $1.9 trillion that the White House is seeking in coronavirus aid. However, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate are on track to vote as soon as this week on a budget resolution, which would lay the groundwork for passing Biden's stimulus package under rules requiring only a simple majority vote in the closely divided Senate.
GameStop shares — which were pushed 400% higher last week by retail investors on the Reddit WallStreetBets forum — were little changed in Monday's premarket after seeing earlier strength and weakness. Year to date, the brick-and-mortar video game retailer's stock skyrocketed more than 1,600%, and over 8,100% in the past 12 months.
Robinhood and other trading apps continue to limit buying of GameStop shares and options contracts, along with those of other heavily shorted names.
Silver futures surged 11% Monday as the Reddit-fueled trading craze appeared to be spilling over into the metals market. The surge reflected the biggest move for silver since at least 2013. The iShares Silver Trust — an ETF that retail investors can easily buy — also popped in the premarket after gaining 6% last week. Silver mining stocks Coeur Mining and Pan American Silver surged 19% and 15%, respectively, early Monday after big moves last week.
In an appearance on social media audio app Clubhouse, Tesla CEO Elon Musk brought Robinhood chief Vlad Tenev into the conversation, and then grilled Tenev on why the commission-free trading platform decided to restrict trading in GameStop. "We had no choice in this case," Tenev said. "We had to conform to our regulatory capital requirements."
Clubhouse, which is in "prelaunch" to millions of users, is working to open up its platform to everybody, co-founder and CEO of Paul Davison told CNBC on Monday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.