95-6? 76 1/2-78 1/2 [reading stock values. (BE)]

sourdough99

Member
Korean
From "The History of Mr. Polly" by Wells...

You [...] turn over the page of a newspaper, and against the name of that distant, vague-conceived railway in mortgages upon which you have embarked the bulk of your capital, you see instead of the familiar, persistent 95-6(varying at most to 93 ex. div.) this slightly richer arrangement of marks: 76 1/2 - 78 1/2.
It seems that I need economic terminology to understand this sentence...
Would you explain what those numbers mean?

Thank you.
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You are looking at the financial pages of a newspaper, specifically at the value of one of your investments. You are used to its value being around 95 or 96 (in whatever units, probably pounds), dropping perhaps to 93 immediately after it paid a dividend (ex. div.) so the price would drop by the amount of that dividend. Instead, you see prices around 77 or 78.

    This is very bad news. Your savings lost about 20 percent of their value while you were on that "little careless holiday abroad.' That is why Wells describes it as "a blow upon the heart" and "the opening of a pit just under your feet."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Good, but the price is pence per share, not pounds. The 1/2 is a halfpenny - we've never had 1/2 pounds (in currency, of course).
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Good, but the price is pence per share, not pounds. The 1/2 is a halfpenny - we've never had 1/2 pounds (in currency, of course).
    Oh yes we had! The 10 Bob/shilling note. That was a half quid note.

    GF..

    LSD, pounds, shillings and pence; before decimalisation in 1971. If I remember :) correctly decimalisation day was 15 February 1971 . :rolleyes:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Oh yes we had! The 10 Bob/shilling note. That was a half quid note.

    GF..

    LSD, pounds, shillings and pence; before decimalisation in 1971. If I remember :) correctly decimalisation day was 15 February 1971 . :rolleyes:
    Sigh. George, we never had a half-pound note or a half-pound coin, we never spoke of a half pound, and we never wrote 1/2 when we meant 10 shillings, 10 bob, or (later) 50 pence. I'll happily accept that many said "half a quid".

    PS Yes, I know, "never say never".
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Good, but the price is pence per share, not pounds. The 1/2 is a halfpenny - we've never had 1/2 pounds (in currency, of course).
    I assume that it should read 76½ - 78½ so we're clearly talking about the half symbol. In pre-decimalisation currency, without context, we might read 1/2 as 1s 2d (one shilling and twopence).

    But the key point I suppose is that stocks are traded in pence.
     

    sourdough99

    Member
    Korean
    My reply is a little late so I wonder if you are still available to give an interest to this issue.

    To wrap up the discussion about the half symbol...
    First, the price per share should be read by pence, not pound. Am I right?
    Second, as you said, I agreed with the idea that we should read the half symbol without rounding up.
    You read the half symbol as 1 silling and 2 pence, if so how to read 76 1/2 or 78 1/2?
    I do not fully understand because of no knowledge about Britain's currency.

    Thank you for your interest and help.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    You read the half symbol as 1 silling and 2 pence, if so how to read 76 1/2 or 78 1/2?
    That verb "read" in your sentence is the past form of the verb "read". That was long ago and nat's example was only for 1/2, not for numbers where there was something before the 1/2. Today, 1/2 would not be read as 1 shilling and twopence unless the context or age of the text were appropriate! 76 1/2 would be read as "seventy six and a half."
     
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