Kathleen Brooks
TECH stocks struggled towards the end of last month. China’s weaker growth, including the announcement that it will be drastically reducing its output of rare earth metals, suggests that the future could be fairly bumpy for the sector. Apple’s share price rose immediately following yesterday’s launch event, but with consumer confidence still weak and its share price trading fairly close to its 52-week high of $279, investors may find further rises hard to swallow. Can Steve Jobs and his team win investors over with their new products? Cantor Index offers a spread on Apple of $240.63-$245.67.

Gold hit two-month highs of $1,254 before easing slightly in yesterday’s afternoon trading session. This followed some positive data out of the US. The ISM Manufacturing index staged a rebound in August, exceeding the expectations of the market. Gold has rallied powerfully from the $1,166 level reached in late July due to ongoing economic worries, institutional investor and hedge fund buying and concerns about longer-term inflation trends in the US. Pull-backs to the $1,240 area are a good opportunity to buy the precious metal, with a target initially of $1,270 and then $1,300. Spread Co offers a spread on spot gold of $1,247.0-$1,247.5.

A wave of M&A activity could hit the industrials sector. Killik & Co, the stockbroker, thinks that Weir Group, Cobham and Rotork would appeal to foreign investors and would make attractive add-ons for industrial conglomorates. The recent 325p a share bid for Tomkins, the engineering company, by Pinafore Acquisitions has spurred the M&A rumour machine. Spreadex offers a rolling spread on Weir Group of 1,261.80p-1,270.20p.

Numis, the investment banking group, has released a buy recommendation for Greene King, the pub chain. The group’s AGM is later this month and Numis expects good news on sales and profits expectations for 2011. Spreadex offers a spread of 411.80p-414.10p.