I have a bit of a problem understanding the stock market price listings for the London stock market. I am mainly concerned with Argentinian government bonds. So far, I have always used the Investor's Monthly Manual for bond prices. That was fine as long as I only needed monthly data. However, I now need daily data. So I turned to the London Times for bond prices. However, there the bond prices are listed in a somewhat different format. In order to check whether I understand these prices I tried to check the Times prices against the Investor's Monthly Manual (IMM) prices. However, I cannot really make sense of it. For example, if I look up the last day price of the Argentinian 1886-1887 loan for November 1911 in the IMM, I get 104.5. See here: https://imgur.com/a/6cdMKWs

If I look up the same bond in the "Business Done" section of the Times I get the following prices: 29 Nov 1911: 104 7/8 3/8 and 1 December: 104 7/8 1/2 [the 30 Nov issue does not have any bond price listings]. Here are the pages from the Times: https://imgur.com/a/vt17mWx https://imgur.com/a/J2LZbL4

I would be grateful for any advice as to how to read the bond prices with the double fractions in the Times and for any explanation why there is a difference between the IMM and Times.

Thank you!


I am unfamiliar with this style of notation, but in my opinion it seems likely that the double fractions denote buy and sell prices. I.e. on Nov 29th 1911 the sell price was 104 3/8 and the buy price was 104 7/8. This gets you an average or mid price of 104 1/2 = 104.5.

It is also possible that the two numbers denote the daily opening and closing prices, but the variation seems small for this.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that is helpful. I wonder though why in cases where the Times only has one figure, these figures do not always seem to match the IMM. For example, the BA Water Loan is 103 1/4 in the Times (imgur.com/a/vt17mWx) and 103 1/2 in the IM (imgur.com/a/8JhnfB7). $\endgroup$ – Polsci54 Feb 6 '19 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ I think you are correct after all. I still do not quite get the notations in the Times, but I have now compared the IMM with the notations in the Economist. In the Economist there are indeed always 2 closing prices, which seem to represent bid and ask. Here the mid-price between the two always matches the IMM last price. This is also confirmed in a contemporary stock market manual (imgur.com/a/GGUJ2Jb). Thanks again! $\endgroup$ – Polsci54 Feb 6 '19 at 6:46

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