THE run-up to Christmas truly gets underway this week with US Thanksgiving on Thursday. Historically this has given equity markets a boost as a result of improved sentiment and as the festive sentiment rubs off on investors. This could prompt a rally in the Dow. Capital Spreads quotes 11,165-11,167 for the index.

US dollar strength has helped our US dollar-Canadian dollar buy recommendation at Ca$1.0010. The pair has since taken out the first target of Ca$1.0200 on its way to a high of Ca$1.0258 before pulling back to support around Ca$1.0165 last week. It might be wise to pull stop-losses up to Ca$1.0140, but hold the position until at least Ca$1.0300. Spread Co offers a spread of Ca$1.0192-Ca$1.0196.

Severn Trent shares have fallen away slightly since setting year highs of 1,468p on 11 November and the firm ended last week trading around the 1,430p level. Tomorrow’s update is expected to show a fall in profits for the firm. This, combined with some of the debt the company has been shouldering, has prompted a few spread betters to short the stock. Spreadex has a rolling Severn Trent spread of 1434.5p – 1440.5p.

United Utilities follow on Wednesday and also set a year high – of 634.5p – on 11 November. That followed the sale of its non-regulated business for around £600m – beating analysts’ expectations of between £450m and £500m. That sparked a positive feeling from spread betters but shares have fallen since to close on Friday at 627p. ShortsandLongs has a rolling spread of 626.8p-628.70p.