MARKETS QUIET BUT FIRM
Settlement Restrains Improvement By Our City Editor The conclusion of the Whitsuntide holidays marked a general return of the Stock Exchange population for the resumption of business on Tuesday last, although the near approach of the end of the long Account and its settlement served to restrain an improvement in conditions that might have otherwise assumed greater proportions. As it was, a distinctly firmer tone was noticeable during the past week, this being assisted both by the improvement on Wall Street, where the week-end settlement of the steel strike had an encouraging effect, and by our April trade returns, which show the greatest flow of trade since 1930.
Although a full attendance has failed to result in much business during the past week, absence of further liquidation and some moderate bargain hunting combined to lift prices in several directions. This was particularly the case among Oils and a few non-producing Kaffirs, although even here demand was strictly selective. In the former group, Attocks were responsive on Tuesday to news of a new oil strike, while Mexican Eagles and Anglo Iranians were
also higher. Palmietkuil and New Central Wits. made progress among Kaffirs.
In other directions conditions were quiet, but firm. Gilt-edged and kindred securities remained almost unchanged, as also were the Home and Foreign Rails. Transatlantics have been fairly firm on balance, the only feature being Brazilian Tractions, which attracted demand on the recent good dividend and reports of continued recovery in the trade of Brazil. Home Industrials have been irregular. Among the leaders, British Oxygens improved on the announcement of record profits. while Triplex and Electrical Equipments were also harder. Associated Cements were dull. Breweries were better for choice. The Shipping group revealed few changes of note. There was again little doing in the Rubber section, but among Teas there were several
minor gains. Apart from the improvement in Kaffirs already referred to, the Mining Markets have been generally uninteresting. West Africans and Rhodesian Coppers were inclined to dwindle in the absence of fresh support. San Franciscos, however. were a firm spot among miscellaneous Base Metals.
In view of the greater investment interest in Oil shares in recognition of the growth of profits attained by most of the better class producers, and the probable further expansion due to the recent rise in petrol
prices, I am surprised to see that the El shares of the Trinidad Petroleum Development Company are standing no higher than about 26s. 9d. Although long-established as a good earning proposition, the Company's shares have only recently been dealt in on the Stock Exchange.
The Company is the third largest producer of oil in Trinidad, production for the past financial year ended July 31 last amounting to 1,413,217 barrels. Production for the current year was originally estimated at 1,500,000 barrels, but the recent rate of weekly production indicates
that this figure will be exceeded. The authorised and issued capital is £1,000,000, all in £1 shares, with no debentures. The average net profit for the past six years, after making adjustments in connection with plant and oil wells, is £77,938, equivalent to over 7 per cent. on the capital. On the basis of a production of 1,500,000 barrels, however, it is estimated that, at present prices, the net profit for the current year should be not less than £90,000, equivalent to about 9 per cent. It is thought that a dividend of 7 per cent. may be paid for the current year. The Company is very conservatively managed and is regarded as having great possibilities.
In pursuance of my recent quest for promising Argentine investments, a longterm opportunity may be offered in the Ordinary shares of Bieckert's Brewery Company, now obtainable around 14s.. These are the only Argentine brewery shares dealt in in this country. Up to the last accounts the Company's business had been adversely affected by the exchange position, and the difficulty in remitting money out of the country, but since the exchange has been much stronger during the past twelve months, trading should have been less hampered on this account for the current year to conclude on June 30. In view of the rapid return to prosperity in the Argentina. the pending accounts should reveal a marked improvement. The net profit for the past financial year expanded from 310,000 to 319,000 paper pesos. No dividend has been paid since 1933, when the rate was 2 per cent. The nominal value of the shares is 5 gold dollars, equivalent to about £I sterling.
The Argentine Navigation Co. have just declared a final dividend of 5 per cent. on the $5 £1 Cumulative Participating Preference shares, making a total of 9 per cent, for the past year, the same as for 1935. This is up to general expectations, although some were looking for the full rate. The shares are steady at around 25s., and are still worth attention.