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THE TIPSTER

THE political chaos that is Westminster is dominating the headlines at the moment: Gordon Brown is clinging to the premiership by a thread while cabinet ministers jump ship and call for his resignation. Whether he&rsquo;ll go sooner or later, it&rsquo;s worth taking a punt on how many seats the main parties are likely to win at the next general election. Extrabet have Labour on 206-211, the Tories on 358-363 and the Lib Dems making it as high as 53-56. These spreads have already moved massively since the start of the expenses scandal, and there&rsquo;s good chance they&rsquo;ll continue to shift.<br /><br />But while the political world is stormy and unpredictable, the UK market is proving rather staid by comparison, the FTSE 100 remains range bound between the 4,300 and the 4,500 levels. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of activity opening up buying and selling possibilities for spread betters.<br /><br /><strong>CONVICTION SELL</strong><br />Broker recommendations can make a big difference to a share price as bookmaker Ladbrokes found out last week when Goldman Sachs added the bookmakers to its &ldquo;conviction sell&rdquo; list, opening up a shorting possibility for spread betters. The share price has attempted to recover from its lows since last October but has failed recently at 250p. GS&rsquo;s move could see the share price head back down to test its low around 150p. Capital Spreads is quoting a rolling contract with a price of 200.4-201.3p for Ladbrokes.<br /><br />Another potential sell could be oil and gas tiddler Nighthawk. Last week the stock hit a high of 61p on anticipation of an announcement that the company would sell its stake in the Jolly Ranch wells project in the US. But the stock fell back sharply after investors were disappointed at the revenue earned from the sale. Spreadex has a September-based spread of 38.54-39.51p.<br /><br />For those looking to go long, market reaction was favourable to miner Rio Tinto's decision last week to halt plans for a $19.5bn tie up with Chinalco and instead set up a joint iron ore venture with BHP, sparking plenty of buying interest among the trading community. The share price is already back above the &pound;30 level and Spreadex has a September-based spread of 2,992.8-3,008.8p.