MARKETS QUIETLY STEADY. WHILE the approach of the Christmas holidays is naturally a factor tending to restrict business on the Stock Exchange— and on the present occasion there have been additional factors tending to reduce public interest—the tone of markets has been more cheerful than at one time seemed probable. Any realizations for balance-sheet purposes appear to have been completed earlier than usual and a favourable influence just before the Christmas holidays was the sign of betterment in the American Bond market. Gilt-edged stocks have kept firm on hopes of easier money conditions after the turn of the year, though the immediate outlook for markets seems to depend almost entirely upon the regaining by the foreigner of con- fidence in sterling, for this will determine monetary policy in this country. The British inve,stor, it is to be feared, will have little surplus money available for investment during the coming quarter owing to the heavy demands for taxation.