22 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 30


WHILE the stock markets are still partially frozen, invest- ment values are still in the melting pot. Nobody could have expected that the complicated mechanism of City markets could function other than haltingly until an adjustment period of at least a few weeks had passed, nor was it reason- able to suppose that anything like a rational appraisal of investment prospects would be practicable just yet. We must be thankful that the transition to a war-time basis has been effected with so relatively little dislocation, and that, as a body, investors have met a most unpleasant situa- tion in a wholly commendable spirit of calm.

Of course, there are murmurings. In their highly regulated form markets are bound to involve hardships and anomalies which create discontent until they are smoothed out. A City which has known freedom for so long, and, on the whole, used it constructively, cannot be run like a collection of Government departments without chafing. I feel, however, that on a necessarily restricted basis, the machinery of markets will be able to tick over before long, and that is as much as can reasonably be expected in war conditions.