RESOURCE stocks are still in favour this week thanks to improved optimism about the economic recovery and Chinese expansion. Among the larger-caps, India-focused metals group Vedanta Resources made an improved bid for bankrupt US copper miner Asarco last week, which saw the firm’s share price jump 5 per cent in two days, to hit a high of 1,898p before falling back to 1,850p by Friday. Spread betters believe there could be further climbs to come and have been buyers of the stock. Spreadex has a December spread of 1,838.6p-1,853.6p.<br /><br />Central European coal miner New World Resources – which listed on the London, Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges in May 2008 – has made some progress after what was arguably a dismal first year of trading as a listed company. The share price lost almost 90 per cent of its value last year and although we have seen something of a recovery, analysts are increasingly bearish. The firm plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs by the end of 2009 to cope with weak demand in the steel sector. Will this be enough for them to post some profits? The current IG Index price is 492.8p-497.2p.<br /><br />Water and waste management company Pennon Group could be worth a buy at the moment at the 445p level. The group said last week that it would invest the £125m raised through a convertible bond issue into Viridor, its waste management business. Spread betters should be targeting 500p plus and placing stops at around 420p. Worldspreads has a price of 446.5 – 447.5p.<br /><br />In the financials sector, better-than-expected figures from insurer Prudential saw the company raise its interim dividend, which caused its share price to jump by more than 10 per cent at the end of last week following a mere 8 per cent fall in operating profit. Shares hit 545p – their highest level since September 2008 – sparking plenty of buying interest from investors. ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 517.4p-519.1p.