BRIGHT RESUMPTION OF BUSINESS
Metal Shares Active
By Our City Editor Considering the fact that the final week of the twenty-one-day Account has been occupied by,the four working days between Christmas and the New Year, and is usually a period lacking in interest, the stock markets concluded the old year in a remarkably cheerful fashion. Although the " House" was sparsely attended during the past week, a fair amount of activity developed with the resumption of business last Monday, particularly in speculative sections. Attention was chiefly directed to commodity and Base Metal shares. The question is now, What has the New
Year in store for the investor? It is thought that the active conclusion of the past year is indicative of a good start for the new Account next Monday. The general expectation as to the future course of markets is for a transfer of interest from manufacturing to commodity shares, on the assumption that, while producers of raw materials should benefit from the current rising trend of prices, many manufacturers will suffer from the same cause. In particular, the recent upward trend in the Rubber section is likely to gain momenturn, although the experience of the past few .weeks does not suggest that there is likely to be any run-away movement in prices. Elsewhere, Rhodesian Copper and Base Metal. Issues are expected to continue in favour, while it is possible we shall witness a further revival among gold shares, particularly in the West African and Westralian sections.
With the exception of quietude in the Gilt-edged section, which eased a little on Monday, the stock markets have been generally firm and active during the past week, the outstanding features being the rise in Rubber and Base Metal shares. Home Railway stocks displayed an improving tendency, while Argentine Rails continued very firm. Industrials have been steady, the principal rises being supplied by Triplex, Associated Cements, AngloNewfoundland Developments, Hudson's Bays, and Sudan Plantations, the latter on the rise in cotton prices. The Motor and Aircraft groups have been quiet and slightly easier, notably British Marines in the latter category. Iron and Steel issues were irregular. Bolsovers advanced among Colliery shares. Breweries were on the dull side, with the exception of Vancouvers, which are attracting more attention now that they are in their new form of $5 shares.
In other directions, the Oil section had good spots in Shell and Royal Dutch on dividend hopes, but the speculative issues have been quiet. Transatlantic stocks opened the week firmer, but have since been somewhat erratic on the uncertain course of Wall Street.
Mining shares of all descriptions have been in prominence during the past week. In particular, there was considerable demand for Rhodesian Coppers on the strength of the metal price, which is approaching £50 per ton. All the shares advanced sharply, greatest attention being accorded to Rhokana, Roan Antelope, Rhodesian Selection Trust, and Selection Trust. Rhodesian Anglo-Americans have been rather out of the running, and for this reason I regard them as comparatively cheap at around 32s. 6d.
Although gold shares were rather out of the lirrfelight on Monday, they improved as the week progressed. Kaffirs advanced throughout the list, the best spots being Vlakfonteins and Western Reefs, which
both passed the £3 mark. Goldfields. Crowns, and Luipaards Vlei were also to
the fore. West Africans were firmer, with keen demand for Amalgamated Banket Areas, and Gold Coast Selection Trust on Tuesday. Marius are also on the upgrade in anticipation of the first month's crushing returns. I expect this section to assume more prominence in the new Account, especially G.C. Selection Trust. Westralians were inclined to go better. Base Metal issues went ahead strongly, notably North Broken Hill, Broken Hill South, Burma Corporation, and Zinc Corporation. Tins moved higher.
Puzzling Market phrases
Those readers who previously have had little to do with Stock Exchange business will he puzzled frequently by the various technical phrases used in relation to stock and share matters. It may be interesting if. I explain the meaning of a few of these from time to time.
For one instance, take the familiar statement that such-and-such a stock or share is " ex dividend " or " cum dividend." These phrases refer to whether the value of the dividend is still included in the price of the security concerned, or whether it has been deducted. In accordance with Stock Exchange rules, securities are quoted ex dividend "—in other words, less the value of the dividend--on the first Monday of the Account following that in which it is declared. Up to the " ex dividend" date all dealings are "cum dividend," meaning that purchasers are entitled to the distribution; conversely, sellers lose their claim to the dividend. Directly the shares go "ex dividend," however, purchasers have no claim on the distribution, although they are probably able to buy the shares cheaper, as they have been marked down the value of the dividend. As I expect readers know, ex and cum arc Latin for from and with respectively, from which the meaning of these phrases will be clear—namely, a share price from which the value of the dividend has been deducted; and a share which is still with its dividend.
For those investors seeking a low-priced Rubber share for capital appreciation purposes, the 2s. shares of Siginting look quite attractive at the present price of around Is. 74.d. This Company paid 2 per cent. for the past financial year, and it is estimated that earnings are now in the region of 7 per cent. A 5 per cent. dividend may be paid for the current year.
Among leading commodity issues, the £1 shares of the Sudan Plantations Syndicate appear good value for money at the pre-. sent price of about 42s. 6d. They have been in good demand this week, and should eventually stand considerably higher.
A short time ago I suggested the £1 74. per cent. Cumulative Preference variety of the Amalgamated Cotton Mills Trust at about 4s. 9d. as promising " recovery" shares in the Textile group. They are now slightly harder at 5s. 3d., and are
still worth attention. It was stated at the recent annual general meeting that the Company's mills are now running at full capacity. A capital reconstruction scheme is to be submitted at an early date. The Preference shares are in arrears of dividend since April 30, 1925.