Pawnbrokers go where banks fear to tread

"It expects profits to be ahead of expectations thanks to the higher price of gold that has boosted the return on unredeemed loans. But worryingly for consumers, it is expanding its network of UK stores.

"This would suggest the recession is far from over, and credit applications through normal channels will remain tight except for those with near-perfect credit records. The longer the recession persists, the better it will be for Albemarle & Bond, and also for eagle-eyed investors that benefitted from today's 8% jump in the company's shares."