Could things change during conference season?
We have not featured the spread betting prices on the number of general election seats since May 15th because there has been very little movement on the overall result. Then the Tory spread was 355 – 360 seats while today it has moved up just one.
So the changes in political fortunes over the past three months have had very little impact on punters who don’t seem ready to back the Tories beyond the current levels. The mid-point suggests an overall majority of 67
It is going to take something more for punters to risk what can be quite large sums on Cameron’s party doing much better. In 2005 the closing spreads undershot on the Tories by about fifteen seats.
As a long-time player of these markets I’m standing aside at the moment and have no bets for or against any of the parties. Things could just look differently after the party conferences, particularly the Labour one. Any sense that Brown might be going early has the potential to have a big impact.
To recap for those not familiar with spread betting punters trade commons seats on these markets like stocks and shares. If you bought the Tories at 361 and they got 375 you would make the difference between the two numbers and the actual multiplied by your stake level. Alas it works the other way round if the party got less than the contracted price.
Betting like this can be very risky particularly when things are turbulent. I know one gambler who bought Labour seats at the 332 level just before the election that never was in September 2007. He stayed in his contract at Â£100 a seat and is now facing a Â£12,800 loss.