This section is from the "Everybody's Guide to Money Matters" book, by William Cotton. With a description of the various investments chiefly dealt in on the stock exchange, and the mode of dealing therein. Some account of the pitfalls prepared for the unwary, and suggestions to the cautious investor.
These represent money borrowed by municipalities and trusts in Colonial and foreign towns, and the security offered consists of rates and revenues from the various undertakings, such as harbours, gas, and water-works, city improvements, &c., in which the loans are invested. The loans are mostly represented by bonds, to which coupons are attached for interest, and are repayable at a certain specified date. Although they do not command the high credit of British Corporation loans, yet some of the Colonial towns are in fair repute as an investment, and the rate of interest is high enough to tempt a large amount of money from this country. Towns of some size in our Colonies, and thoroughly settled, may be relied upon to carry out their obligations, but mushroom cities and foreign places liable to political fluctuations should be looked upon with suspicion.
These offer but a limited area for investment. They were formerly very popular with the British investor, but rival interests and labour troubles have affected the confidence in which they were held, and the ordinary stocks are mostly at a considerable discount.
Gas and electric lighting companies, trams and omnibus companies, telegraphs, telephones, water-works, &c., must all be judged by the localities which they serve and the amount of business they are likely to command. As permanent investments it should be considered whether they are likely to suffer by supersession or opposition, and if they are managed by a trustworthy competent board of directors.
Among the numerous commercial undertakings offering for investment, brewery companies form a class of themselves, and, with few exceptions, the English companies appear to have done well, and the shares of the best of them stand at a high premium. Properly managed and dealing in an article of universal consumption, brewery companies ought to be a trustworthy investment: but they are liable to much fluctuation. The shares of one of the leading concerns, which now stand at about 150 for the £100 share, were only four years ago as low as 28, and at the same time only half the interest was paid on the preference shares. American brewery companies are liable to be manipulated by cliques and syndicates, and should be avoided as an investment.