HOMEBUILDER Barratt Homes is proving an interesting punt at the moment after speculation that rival Persimmon is mounting a bid of 170p per share. Barratt would make an interesting purchase as it is trading at a significant discount to its net asset value and has a large bank of land. ETX Capital is quoting 122.21p-122.79p.

We are also getting some trading updates filtering through this week. Pubco JD Wetherspoon’s share price has been rallying so far this week ahead of an expected bumper set of results on Friday. Shares have risen 9 per cent this week alone and are not far off a 26-month high. Capital Spreads offers a spread of 497.7p-500.2p.

Cinema company Cineworld is announcing full-year trading results today and the expectation is for sales to have improved. Cinema has been a popular form of good value entertainment in the recession, and blockbusters such as Avatar have added a further boost to the industry. IG Index offers a June spread of 175.18p-180.05p.

Traders looking at the wider index might consider a punt on the FTSE?100. The blue-chip index has rallied more than 60 per cent since the low was reached in March last year. However, this week the index has been trading sideways within quite a tight range after hitting an 18-month high on Monday. If the FTSE fails to push higher, then chartists may spot that a double top has been reached, which could signal potential consolidation. City Index was offering 5,618.5-5,620 at the close.

While the FTSE 100 might be holding up in spite of the UK economy’s relatively poor performance, the same cannot be said for sterling. Weak industrial production figures yesterday weighed heavily on the pound and worries about the fiscal deficit are not helping either. British traders are increasingly preferring the safe-haven dollar to their home currency. City Index was offering sterling-dollar at $1.4940-$1.4943.

In commodities, sugar prices have taken a pummelling after crop yields were better than expected. With key resistance levels broken during a 40 per cent slump in the price, is sugar getting too cheap or are downward pressures too great? IG offers a May New York sugar No 11 price of 19.25 cents-19.30 cents.