NON-FARM payroll data this Friday should provide the usual fireworks. Marking the start of the final quarter of 2010, this is a crucial figure. Markets have been jumpy amid continuing uncertainty about the global economy and this monthly release has moved stocks around dramatically in the past year. Its trajectory in the coming months could determine whether we get the usual year-end rally from the Dow – or if we see shares sink heading into Christmas. Capital CFDs quotes 10786-10788 for Wall Street.

Insurance giant Aviva is also an interesting play from several angles. With a dividend yield of 6 per cent, not only does it appeal to those looking for income, but with so many different areas of the business and in this frantic mergers and acquisitions atmosphere, the insurer is a strong buy-out and break-up target. ETX Capital is quoting 339.7p-400.2p for the CFD.

Falling oil prices, in addition to BP’s decision to tap the debt market for €2bn have done little to cheer the stock of late. Still, so long as there’s no unexpected uplift in costs from the Gulf of Mexico spill then any downside could prove somewhat short-lived. Dips could provide buying opportunities for those who missed the “chance of a lifetime” to stock up a few months ago. The company was given an A-rating for its debt by S&P late last month, giving much-needed solace to equity holders. Current IG Markets price on BP is 431.05p-431.1p.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the energy sector, Newcastle-based offshore driller Wellstream was up on takeover talk after revelations that one of its mysterious bidders was US?giant General Electric. Brokers are divided, with some recommending a sell but others hoping for a bidding war. Wellstream is seen as an attractive asset due to its focus on Brazil, predicted to be a major location for future offshore drilling. Spreadex offers a rolling spread of 784.50p-791.00p on the stock

Cruise operator Carnival impressed with its recent third quarter results. Although its current dividend is only at ten cents per quarter, it’s possible that buyers could benefit from a doubling of the yield in the near future. The firm is also expanding confidently, splashing out on five new ships, but offsetting this capex is a healthy revenue stream. IG Markets quotes a December contract spread of 2494.2p-2507.2p.