THIS week the focus will be on Wednesday’s Budget and its political ramifications for the upcoming general election. The Labour Party will have been given a boost by last week’s encouraging public finances and Lloyds Banking Group’s announcement on Friday that it expects to turn a profit this year. But is it too little, too late for Labour? IG Index currently offers a spread on the number of parliamentary seats to be won by the Conservatives in the forthcoming election of 330-335 .

Supermarket J Sainsbury issues a trading update on Wednesday which could get the stock out of its trading range. Capital Spreads quotes a price of 332.6p-333.3p.

While consumers might still be spending on necessities like food, they are still finding it expensive to get mortgages, putting pressure on the residential homes market. It’s been tough for homebuilders like Bellway although a robust trading statement last month did show signs of improvement for the company. Analysts remain generally bullish on the stock but a double-dip recession could sour the outlook significantly. The current IG Index price is 740.6p-745.9p.

In the news last week was inter-dealer broker Tullett Prebon, which won its staff poaching case in the High Court. The decision sent its shares up by 25 per cent but a further upward moves was capped by an old resistance trendline going back to February 2008. However, bid talk may spur the shares on through the 385p resistance and towards the October highs of near 430p. Spread Co has a spread on Tullett Prebon of 367.50p-369.66p

Jessica Mead