|Finspreads will let people from across the class divide take a punt with 1p bets on the internet on how much a share price will move outside a range specified by bookmakers. |
As share prices fluctuate, experts say huge sums could be made by those who call the markets correctly without buying a share.
The move is intended to exploit and provide a further boost to the surging popularity of spread betting.
The most common forms of financial spread betting involve gambling on how much a stock, index, or currency may move.
In the case of Vodafone, whose shares yesterday were trading at 100p, City Index - one of seven firms offering spread bets - was quoting a spread of 99p to 101p. A bullish punter expecting it to do better could 'buy' the share at 101p, while a bear might sell at 99p, reckoned Tom Houugard, market strategist at City.
If the share price moves to 110p in two weeks, the spread would change to 109p to 111p. Then anybody who bought at 101p and staked £10 a point would gain £80, ie 109 to 101 times 10.
Anyone who expected a fall and 'sold' at 99p would have to pay 111 to 99 times, ie £120, to settle their bet, although maximum losses could be fixed in advance at a cost.
Given the relative complexity of spreads compared to fixed-odds betting - in which fixed risks offer fixed returns - Finspreads hopes to demystify things with a free, eight-week course. It includes written guidance on trading and telephone pep talks from professionals.
It is offering cheap internet bets during the course to encourage experimentation.
The move by Finspreads, recently bought for £9 million by the pools and gaming giant Zetters, follows a surge in betting as markets swung wildly.