Silver swept up by GameStop retail frenzy

The latest target of a retail-trading frenzy that has set financial markets on edge.

Silver prices surged to an eight-year high on Monday (Feb 1).

Silver-mining stocks leapt and bullion dealers were scrambling as small-time investors piled in to the metal.

The phenomenon has largely been organised in online forums such as Reddit and traded with fee-free brokers like Robinhood.

It's driven a 1500% rally in the shares of videogame retailer GameStop as the crowd scoops up assets big fund managers had bet against.

The action in silver follows thousands of Reddit posts and hundreds of YouTube videos.

They suggest that a rise in the physical price could again hurt large investors who have bet on it falling.

The move marks a foray into a much bigger and more liquid market.

Silver-exposed stocks, funds and coins jumped in Asian trade, pushing spot silver up more than 7%.

European stocks continued the trend in early deals, with London-listed miners up strongly.

Spot silver leapt more than 11% in London, reaching its highest since February 2013.

Broader markets swung from losses to gains in Asia and Europe.

Investors seem torn between whether the retail frenzy is an entertaining sideshow or something more dangerous.

Several of the renegade traders are now millionaires on paper, and their hedge fund adversaries are nursing their wounds.

Melvin Capital, which bet against GameStop, lost 53% in January.

Robinhood has backed down and lifted some of the buying restrictions it imposed last week in a bid to calm the frenzy.