WITH a slew of macroeconomic data on the way, <strong>sterling-US dollar</strong> – otherwise known as cable – is sharply in focus this week. Although the pound made some solid gains at the end of last week, these may well be reversed on Friday when the UK third quarter GDP figure is released. Forecasts have been steadily revised downwards and any suggestion that the country is stuck in recession could turn off even the most bullish of traders. IG Index is currently quoting $1.6303-$1.6306.<br /><br />Last week <strong>crude oil</strong> prices hit a year-high of more than $75 per barrel following a surprise drop in US petrol stockpiles. Analysts are now predicting that prices of oil could continue to rise with transport sector demand likely to increase in the run-up to Christmas. ShortsandLongs.com has a January light crude contract with a spread of $78.14-$78.24.<br /><br /><strong>RIGHTS ISSUE</strong><br />Following a collapse of takeover talks last Friday, beleaguered <strong>National Express</strong>’s share price dropped 26 per cent. This week, the transport provider will begin consulting with shareholders over details of a rights issue. The firm insists it isn't looking to refinance its €450m credit facility until September next year, but spread betters have still been shorting the stock. Spreadex has a March-based contract with a spread of 351.6p-356.1p.<br /><br />With the prospect of an economic recovery and growing consumer confidence on the way, shares of Argos’s parent <strong>Home Retail</strong> have ticked steadily higher. With Woolworths no longer a competitor and imminent strike action at Royal Mail likely to weigh on internet competitors, festive trade could well be upbeat for the retail company. IG Index is currently quoting 299.5p-300.2p.