Virus-Driven Spread-Bet Boom Drives 500% Revenue Gain at Plus500

(Bloomberg) --

Plus500 Ltd.’s first-quarter revenue surged as market volatility driven by the coronavirus outbreak enticed the spread-betting firm’s customers to trade.

The Haifa, Israel-based company said 2020 profit would be “substantially ahead” of expectations after revenue in the first three months jumped almost sixfold to $316.6 million, according to a trading update on Tuesday.

The shares jumped as much as 11% in early London trading. Plus500, which is known for sponsoring Spain’s Atletico Madrid soccer team, deals in contracts for difference, or CFDs -- derivatives largely banned in the U.S. that traders use to wager on stocks, bonds and commodities, often with borrowed funds that juice the size of their bets.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted some of the most volatile markets in history. It’s also been a boon for the spread-betting industry, which had been hit by a regulatory crackdown on the leverage allowed to its individual investors.

Rival CMC Markets Plc reported client-trading activity in March was more than double that of more normalized market conditions, while IG Group Holdings Plc also said revenue would be higher. The three companies’ shares have been surging for the past three weeks as much of the rest of the market slumps.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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