Kathleen Brooks
AFTER hitting 29-year highs at the start of February, global raw sugar prices have since tumbled as supply in Brazil and India was stronger than expected. Prices have now fallen below 20 cents per pound, after hitting highs of 30.40 cents per pound back in February. Can the fall in prices continue? Spreadex has a sugar number 11, May contract of 19.48$c-19.58$c.

US crude oil continues to fail above the $80 mark and once again dipped back to $79 after a sharp sell-off yesterday. The price chart for crude oil looks like it's forming a head-and-shoulders pattern, which is usually followed by big moves to the downside – bulls beware. Capital Spreads quotes $79.54-$79.60 for the crude April contract on the Nymex exchange.

10 March 2009 was the start of last year’s Cheltenham Festival and also the day that the markets bounced back from their lows, eventually rising 56 per cent. Since the start of the year markets have continued their ascent, although there have been some bumps along the way. Will the Cheltenham effect work today? IG Index offers a daily FTSE 100 cash bet of 5,591-5,593.

Barclays’ stock price has had an incredible run in the past month, appreciating by more than 30 per cent. Fueling this move higher has been news that it is looking at acquiring a large US retail bank. Some investors are expressing scepticism at the prospect of Barclays making another large US acquisition after it purchased the investment banking arm of Lehman Brothers in 2008. This could put the brakes on its share price. At 350p it looks overbought and, from a technical perspective, there is a resistance level around the 352p mark. It might be a good time to book profits, or even to go short. Spread Co offers a spread on Barclays of 348.5p-349.37p.

Gold has been stuck in a range between $1,090 and $1,150 for nearly three months now, although it has been edging higher at a snail’s pace. However, downside for the precious metal is limited due to an established support line at $1,098 that dates back to October 2008. There is an opportunity to go short the metal if it breaks its support line around the $1,090 mark, or wait for it to reach the top of the upward trend channel around $1,145. Spread Co has a spread on spot gold of $1,104.8-$1,105.3.

Strong employment figures sent the Canadian dollar soaring on Friday, and it closed 1 per cent higher at CA$1.0167 against the greenback. The Canadian dollar has rallied over 5 per cent against the greenback in the last six weeks. The loonie is being driven higher by strong commodity prices – Canada is an oil producer – and an improving economic backdrop. There is a growing chorus looking for the Canadian dollar to reach parity with the greenback, and it could happen this year. Spread Co has a spot rate of CA$1.0173-CA$1.0177.