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THE TIPSTER RESISTANCE HAS FINALLY BEEN BROKEN

WITH the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking solidly through the 9,000 mark, it should come as no surprise that the FTSE 100 has also been making steady gains over the past week. Fuelled by the optimism from US earnings figures, the FTSE 100 breached significant resistance levels last week. All eyes will be on the market this morning; see also Martin Slaney, p13.<br /><br />Over the past two months the market has failed to make ground; however it has now risen for ten days in a row, a remarkable feat. This &ndash; and the fact that key resistance levels have been breached &ndash; could signal further gains for the index, which recorded the most number of rises in a row for five and a half years. <br /><br />Banks remain in focus, especially in light of the US banks&rsquo; second quarter results. Shares in Lloyds Banking Group have been on a steady climb for the past fortnight heading towards 79p at the end of last week. Rumours of further efforts to scale the firm down &ndash; with some analysts even suggesting a possible sale of Bank of Scotland &ndash; appear to have given confidence to spread betters that the share price has further to rise. ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 78.1-78.4p.<br /><br />Mobile telecoms firm Vodafone has been much undervalued by the market so far this year, despite its revenues rising 9.3 per cent in the quarter to June, on the back of positive exchange rates and M&amp;A activity. Vodafone needs to catch up with the market, given that in share price terms it has been practically static for more than three months now. <br /><br />An improving scenario in the European market, outperformance in India and Asia and maintaining guidance are major fundamental buy signals. IG Index has a September spread of 119.85-120.38p.<br /><br />In the smaller-caps, home shopping and education supplies firm Findel saw its share price hit eight-month highs back in May at 162p, but has since struggled, with the stock hovering around the 40p mark last week. <br /><br />A number of investors, however, believe fears over the firm&rsquo;s ability to raise equity finance have subsided and they believe now could be a good time to jump in at low levels. Spreadex has a September spread of 39.44-40.60p.