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THE TIPSTER DUBAI FEARS ARE BATTERING BRITISH BANKS

THE shock announcement that Dubai World was unable to meet its debt obligations last week put intense pressure on stocks and currencies worldwide. Investors were concerned that British banks might have significant exposure to Dubai and the UK financial institutions got a battering. But with the uptrend of the latest bull run still intact, the dip in some banking stocks &ndash; such as Britain&rsquo;s HSBC &ndash; could be a ripe buying opportunity for spread betters. Capital Spreads has a price on HSBC&rsquo;s shares of 706.1p-707.0p.<br /><br />Home improvements firm B&amp;Q has not done too badly from the downturn as homeowners spend less time on pursuits away from the home and instead concentrate on DIY &ndash; particularly with a stagnant housing market. <br /><br />Parent company Kingfisher, which announces third-quarter results this Thursday, hit a year-high of 249.1p at the end of last week. The share price has now increased 100 per cent on the year. But spread betters have been shorting the stock as they try to predict when the stock&rsquo;s relentless march higher may end. ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 238.4p-239.2p. <br /><br />Pub group Mitchells &amp; Butler released an upbeat forecast last Thursday and there are plenty of positive expectations surrounding Greene King&rsquo;s figures tomorrow. Rival pubco Punch Taverns saw its shares rally by more than 13 per cent on Friday, boosted by the buoyant outlook. Is optimism finally returning to the pub industry as firms discover ways to tempt customers back? At 79p, Punch Taverns has some way to go to match its year highs of above 180p so are further gains to come? Spreadex has a December contract with a spread of 78.8p-79.8p<br /><br />Goldman Sachs upgraded luxury retailer Burberry to neutral from sell on Friday saying that its returns were improving, following strong first-half figures last week. Goldman forecasts sales to grow 8.5 per cent in 2011 and 10.9 per cent in 2012 estimates. The share price has been on a rising trend since September and the minimum upside will be the closing high of the year so far at 600p before the intraday peak of 2009 at 617p comes in to focus. IG Index has a spread of 573.9p-575.6p.<br /><br />Gold is certainly in vogue and hardly a day goes by without some outlandish forecast. There are many ways to play gold, from the futures price &ndash; IG Index is offering a February 2010 contract with a current price of $1,168.2-$1,168.9. Alternatively, spread betters could take a punt on mining companies, such as some AIM stocks like Cluff Gold, a miner in Western Africa, IG Index is quoting 63.24p-64.64p on the stock. <br /><br />If you wanted to get exposure to both gold and silver, then why not look at South American miner Couer D&rsquo;Alene. IG is offering a March price of $2.289-$2.309.