22 MAY 1964, Page 27

Investment Notes


TitE Tory comeback in the by-elections brought a sharp recovery in the equity markets. The steady unit trust buying prevented the recent reaction, as I thought, from being too severe and the excellent reports from ROLLS-ROYCE, BOOTS, PRESSED STEEL etc. helped the brief recovery. An important market factor is that when a chair- man reports a wonderful improvement in 1963 he generally goes on to say that 1964 will be better. This is,a fine antidote to election fears and alarms. If the opinion polls continue to give a good fighting chance to the Conservatives the market may well make further headway, in spite of the bad trade returns and gloomy prognostica- tions of some economists that the Government is takhig the risk of an overheated economy. It is Worth noting that a good .deal of professional switching is taking place in spite of the dull Markets. MARKS AND SPENCER have been sold by those who do not like low earnings yields with- out the prospect of sharp improvement and RANK ORGANISATION bought because the low yields are more likely to be justified in the short run. nooTs is another example. At 25s. the earnings Yield is 6.9 per cent against 4.2 per cent for Marks and Spencer and the scope for quick improve- ment is thought to be greater in the case of Boots. I would agree if only Boots had Marks' fabulous expertise in retail merchandising, How- ever Boots are slowly modernising their 'shops and increasing their counter space, and if they would only call in a super-store expert to cut down their sales staff they would have a big uplift in earnings.