Silver prices were pushed to an eight-year high as markets closed following a pile-on by retail investors inspired by the Reddit community that pushed into GameStop shares.
The soaring price of silver helped the FTSE 100 close up for the day as miners enjoyed subsequent share price boosts in reaction to the moves.
The FTSE 100 closed up 58.96 points, or 0.92%, at 6466.42.
SpreadEx analyst Connor Campbell said: “Though it is unclear who exactly is behind the sharp rise in silver, the precious metal’s growth has kept the Reddit-retail trader conversation at the forefront of investors’ minds.”
In Paris, the CAC 40 ended 1.2% higher, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt added 1.4%.
IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp said: “It has, unsurprisingly, been a great day for precious metals miners, and London’s first day of February trading has seen Fresnillo and Polymetal surge to the top of the FTSE 100.”
The pound was down 0.28% against the dollar at 1.367 and up 0.27% against the euro at 1.133 as markets closed.
In company news, shareholders in online fashion giant Asos welcomed the news the firm had bought the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands from Arcadia administrators for £295 million, without the heavy baggage of any stores.
Shares closed up 310p at 4,784p.
Boohoo, which is in exclusive talks to buy Arcadia’s remaining brands Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis, also closed up 4p at 342.9p.
Marston’s revealed and rejected three bids from US private equity house Platinum with the highest valuing the business at £666 million, or 105p-a-share.
Following the announcement, shareholders remained hopeful of a takeover, with shares closing up 5p, or 6.1%, at 87.3p, although Marston’s pointed out the bid remains 19% below the company’s pre-pandemic share price.
Recruitment firm Staffline revealed it had seen high demand from food sellers for extra staff over the Christmas period. E-commerce and logistics recruitment also saw strong growth as shoppers turned to online shopping, the company said.
Shareholders were less impressed and shares closed down 0.6p at 55.95p.
BP revealed it is selling a multibillion dollar stake in an Omani gas field to Thailand’s national oil company as part of major divestment plans.
Bosses said the oil giant would receive nearly 2.6 billion dollars (£1.9 billion) from PTT Exploration for 20% of the Block 61 site. Shares closed down 4.4p at 267.1p.
JD Sports agreed a 495 million dollar (£360 million) takeover of Baltimore sportswear brand DTLR Villa from current owners BRS & Co and Goode Capital in the second US takeover in as many months. Shares soared 52.6p at 799.6p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo up 88.4p at 1,076p; JD Sports up 52.6p at 799.6p; Polymetal up 81p at 1,662p; London Stock Exchange up 414p at 9,100p and M&G up 7.1p at 183p.
The biggest fallers were Pearson down 45.4p at 767.2p; Hargreaves Lansdown down 77p at 1,631.5p; British Land down 8.7p at 440p; BP down 4.4p at 267.1p and Royal Dutch Shell A shares down 21.6p at 1,316.4p.