"Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

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"Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:19 pm

I was surprised to read this in, of all places, James M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."
Mr. Darling used to boast to Wendy that her mother not only loved him but respected him. He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him.
Now, the question I have is this: what was meant by "stocks AND shares?" Offhand I'd have said they were the same thing.

Is it really possible that "stocks were up and shares were down?" Did Barrie goof? Or was it an intentional mistake for comic effect?

Is it possible that "stocks" implicitly meant "common stock" and that "shares" implicitly meant "preferred shares?"

Google turns up quite a lot of references to the phrase "stocks and shares," but I haven't been able to guess that it means from context. For example,

How to buy Stocks and Shares. I've skimmed what it says on the page but nowhere does it clarify the differences between "stocks" and "shares."

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:22 pm

Stocks are American. Shares are British. You know, in the trunk, in the boot. Under the hood, under the bonnet. Etc.

I think the Peter Pan thing is a play on words for comic effect. Firesign Theater was good with this as well. Listen to Nick Danger Third Eye:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5XfXECpU6w
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by schuyler74 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:41 pm

http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/140.asp wrote:For example, "stock" is a general term used to describe the ownership certificates of any company, in general, and "shares" refers to a the ownership certificates of a particular company.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by JoMoney » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:01 am

Maybe it was meant as a quip to mean that the price of stocks were up - so they were sold, thereby decreasing the number of shares and garnering a profit ... ?
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by user5027 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:50 am

I always did a double take when reading about the Brits and their pension schemes. :?

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:11 am

Thanks for the replies so far, but I'm not convinced anyone has come up with the answer. As livesoft says, it seems clear that the phrase "stocks and shares" is British. Obviously Barrie was British (Scottish to be precise), obviously the site I made the screenshot from is British (http://www.barclays.co.uk). But the investopedia definition doesn't make sense in the context of the way Barclay's is using it, and I continue to be puzzled as to whether it's a joke or a real possibility to say "stocks were up and shares were down."

Googling on "stocks and shares" turns up numerous hits, almost all British, but none of them clarify the phrase.

Sure, I "get" it that strictly speaking, you buy shares, plural, in a stock, singular, and that stock market allows you to buy shares, plural, in many different stocks, plural... but the phrase "stocks AND shares" continues to mystify me. I like cereal and flakes for breakfast? I enjoy reading books and chapters? I don't think so. I'm sure it's an old phrase that has lost its original meaning but continues to be repeated, but I still think there must be some kind of answer.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by FrugalFrida » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:22 am

Perhaps if they do a reverse split the stock could go up but the number of shares owned goes down?

Well, English is my second language :wink:

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by laughlinlvr » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:58 am

I've always understood it as a British/American thing. But like many terms that are supposedly used differently in the two places, they are blurred in their actual usage. I find the best way to think of them is generic/specific as mentioned in schuyler74's post. Here's an example:

Q: "Do you own any Apple stock?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 shares (of Apple stock)."

Q: "Do you own any Apple shares?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 of them."

I've noticed that annual meeting notices I receive invite me variously to either stockholders' or shareholders' meetings depending on the company's usage of the terms.

So it's blurred. The only rule I see still in effect is that people don't quantify "stock". If it has a number, then the term "shares" is used.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by bertilak » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:18 am

From http://www.qfinance.com/dictionary/stocks-and-shares
the units of ownership in public companies. The technical difference between stocks and shares is that a company that fixes its capital in terms of a monetary amount and then sells different proportions of it to investors creates stock, while a company that creates a number of shares of equal nominal value and sells different numbers of them to investors creates shares. For all practical purposes they are the same. In the United States, all equity instruments are called stocks, whereas in the United Kingdom, they are called shares.
Found with Google for "define stocks and shares."

To me this means it was intended to be humorous.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Aptenodytes » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:22 am

It seems there are a few possibilities.

1) Barrie wants to portray George Darling as self-important yet unserious. Having him say something that is nonsensical with a serious air achieves this.

2) Barrie wants to convey that Mrs. Darling respects George without understanding whether he deserves respect or not. Having her garble something he might have said achieves this.

3) Barrie is ignorant about stocks and just made a goof.

4) Stocks and shares are priced differently and move in different directions.

I think we can almost rule out 4, but not completely. It is hard to choose among 1-3 because the passage has the narrator quoting the father quoting the mother. Any one of them could have introduced the error.

That said, 3 seems less likely than 1 and 2. So if this were a high school English essay exam and I had to interpret the meaning of this passage, I'd choose between 1 and 2 as most likely. Forced to make my best guess, I'd say 2.

Now if you want definitive proof, I don't know how you go about getting that.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by bertilak » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:22 am

laughlinlvr wrote:I've always understood it as a British/American thing. But like many terms that are supposedly used differently in the two places, they are blurred in their actual usage. I find the best way to think of them is generic/specific as mentioned in schuyler74's post. Here's an example:

Q: "Do you own any Apple stock?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 shares (of Apple stock)."

Q: "Do you own any Apple shares?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 of them."

I've noticed that annual meeting notices I receive invite me variously to either stockholders' or shareholders' meetings depending on the company's usage of the terms.

So it's blurred. The only rule I see still in effect is that people don't quantify "stock". If it has a number, then the term "shares" is used.
Yes.

I have seen something like "I have 200 APPL stocks." I remember it because it sounded so odd. I assumed ESL (English Second Language).
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:00 am

I'm still obsessing. Yes, obviously "stocks and shares" is a British idiom, and obviously it is common for writers to vary their word choice by using "stocks" in one sentence and "shares" in the next etc.

Still: "Securities, then, are the stocks, shares and bonds which are given to those who put money into companies..." --Hartley Withers, "International Finance," 1916. Same source: "These bonds and stocks and shares are the machinery of international finance..." It sure sounds to me as if he is drawing a distinction between three different securities. I can't find a definition or clear explanation, but in one place he refers to "there are almost endless variations of the manner in which the different classes of holders may claim to divide the profits, by means of preference, preferred, ordinary, preferred ordinary, deferred ordinary, founders' shares, management shares, etc., etc." So, here, he feels it necessary to use the word "shares" for two out of six things.

An Horatio Alger novel--a U.S. writer--has someone saying ""The money I suppose will be lost, and perhaps the government bonds may be disposed of; but that will only amount to about fifteen hundred dollars. The thief can't do anything with the stocks and shares."

I'm thinking the next thing to do would be to try to find a British newspaper circa 1900--the Financial Times was founded in 1888 and would do--that publishes prices of... well... stocks and shares, and see whether some of them are listed as "stocks" and some as "shares."
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Gattamelata » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:29 am

nisiprius wrote:I was surprised to read this in, of all places, James M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."
... Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him.
My first read was that it's two statements. "he often said stocks were up and [he often said] shares were down," in other words. Or another way of writing how I read it would be "he often said 'stocks were up' and 'shares were down'".

I have no idea whether that's correct, but that's still how it reads to me after reading the alternatives presented by other folks.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by tyler_cracker » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:39 am

at this point, nisi, you might get better responses posting on the barrieheads forums :wink:

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Minot » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:36 pm

Originally published in 1895, Duncan on Investment and Speculation in Stocks and Shares seems to address your question on page 58. I say "seems to" since I can't say that I'm actually able to follow what he's saying; you're probably more likely to understand it.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by dickenjb » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:38 pm

bertilak wrote:
laughlinlvr wrote:I've always understood it as a British/American thing. But like many terms that are supposedly used differently in the two places, they are blurred in their actual usage. I find the best way to think of them is generic/specific as mentioned in schuyler74's post. Here's an example:

Q: "Do you own any Apple stock?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 shares (of Apple stock)."

Q: "Do you own any Apple shares?"
A: "Yes. I own 200 of them."

I've noticed that annual meeting notices I receive invite me variously to either stockholders' or shareholders' meetings depending on the company's usage of the terms.

So it's blurred. The only rule I see still in effect is that people don't quantify "stock". If it has a number, then the term "shares" is used.
Yes.

I have seen something like "I have 200 APPL stocks." I remember it because it sounded so odd. I assumed ESL (English Second Language).
Sounds odd indeed, but not for the reason you stated. Rather because the ticker for Apple is AAPL.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by schuyler74 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:46 pm

I found an online analysis of the text in question, part of which I pasted below. Although it doesn't get into the specifics of what nisiprius was asking about, I think its writer would lean toward the idea that Barrie was intentionally trying to show Mr. Darling as an arrogant male who acted overly sophisticated in order to make women feel inferior in the realm of men... make-believe though it may be.
...was one of those deep ones who know about stocks and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him.
Straight away we are told that ‘deep’ men know about stocks and shares, only to have this negated by the admission that ‘no one really knows’ about them. This important, manly, characteristic of understanding the stock market is just pretense. If a man plays that game correctly, he wins respect from women.
So money is in the male domain, from when Mr Darling does ridiculous sums to work out if they can afford to have another baby, to when one of the lost boys, Nibs, says, ‘All I remember about my mother … is that she often said to my father, “Oh how I wish I had a cheque-book of my own.” ’ Without wanting to be too feminist, what is implied is that when a boy has to do the dreaded thing and grow up, he will become in charge of the money, allowed to play this grown-up game of pretense about stocks and shares.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:43 pm

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary includes the follow under stock:
SOD wrote: When there is no specific indication s[tock] is usually taken to refer to those portions of the National Debt, the principle of which is not repayable, the government being pledged only to the payment of interest in perpetuity.
The SOD also defines stock in many other ways, including as a synonym for shares.

Other British dictionaries also give this dual meaning. It is possible that at the time or in certain circles "stocks" was used to refer to government bonds, so "stocks and shares" would have meant "bonds and shares" or "Stocks and bonds" in contemporary American English.

For what it's worth consider the use of "stock" in wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consols wrote:Consol (originally short for consolidated annuities, but can now be taken to mean consolidated stock) is a form of British government bond (gilt), dating originally from the 18th century. The first consols were originally issued in 1751.
Does anybody have a 1900 British Dictionary? Or should we wait for ValueThinker to chime in?

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:28 am

I'd like to credit him but I'm not sure why he sent it to me as a PM instead of posting, but someone someone suggested I Google

"FTSE Actuaries UK Conventional Gilts All Stocks Index"

and that is a modern example in which the word "stock" means "bonds. At a quick glance, from context, in this index the word "stock" seems to mean "a group of bonds with the same terms." Not sure if that's exactly the same thing as "issue."

So, yes, "stock" can apparently mean "bonds," even today.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by magneto » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:19 am

As a UKian have been puzzled and irritated for years when financial journalists and other commentators use the expression 'stocks and shares' with monotonous regularity. If shares (of a company), are not stocks, then what the heck are they?

Looking in current FT, UK stock prices are on a page headed 'FT Share Service'.
Other stocks are on a page headed 'American Stocks', then 'Other International Stocks'.
Gov't Bonds are headed 'Gilts - UK Cash Market'.

Looking in UK 'The Times', stock prices are on a page headed 'Equity Prices'.

So we are spoilt for choice.

Yours confused
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:35 am

nisiprius wrote:Thanks for the replies so far, but I'm not convinced anyone has come up with the answer. As livesoft says, it seems clear that the phrase "stocks and shares" is British. Obviously Barrie was British (Scottish to be precise), obviously the site I made the screenshot from is British (http://www.barclays.co.uk). But the investopedia definition doesn't make sense in the context of the way Barclay's is using it, and I continue to be puzzled as to whether it's a joke or a real possibility to say "stocks were up and shares were down."

Googling on "stocks and shares" turns up numerous hits, almost all British, but none of them clarify the phrase.

Sure, I "get" it that strictly speaking, you buy shares, plural, in a stock, singular, and that stock market allows you to buy shares, plural, in many different stocks, plural... but the phrase "stocks AND shares" continues to mystify me. I like cereal and flakes for breakfast? I enjoy reading books and chapters? I don't think so. I'm sure it's an old phrase that has lost its original meaning but continues to be repeated, but I still think there must be some kind of answer.
A UK government bond is called a 'gilt'. The full name is Gilt Edged Stock. Nowadays 'Gilt Edged Securities'.

The 'Stock' market in the UK was the market for UK government bonds. That usage has moved more towards American usage, but there are still bonds called 'Stocks'.

http://www.londonstockexchange.com/trad ... -gilts.pdf
Gilts are marketable securities issued by
Her Majesty’s Government through the
UK Debt Management Office (DMO) –
an Executive Agency of HM Treasury.
Gilts are issued to finance the Central
Government Net Cash Requirements and
to refinance maturing debt.
The name ‘Gilts’ is short for ‘Gilt-edged
stock’
. The market has given this name to
British Government securities because of
their reputation as one of the safest
investments.
By contrast you will find the DMO (part of UK Treasury) website seems to avoid the use of the word 'stock'.

that we have succumbed to American usage is (yet another) sign of the decline of western civilisation (or civilization as you would have it) :wink:

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by sscritic » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:45 am

My compact OED reproduction of the 1933 edition has stock on nine (original) pages (roughly eight pages in total).

It starts with the trunk of a tree and progresses through an instrument of punishment, guns, and planes to a capital sum for investing (number 48), the business capital of a trading firm (50), money invested in a firm (51), and now we are getting closer (52):
The subscribed capital of a trading company or the public debt of a nation, municipal corporation, or the like ...
and then moves on to farm animals, inventory, and card games.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:05 am

magneto wrote:As a UKian have been puzzled and irritated for years when financial journalists and other commentators use the expression 'stocks and shares' with monotonous regularity. If shares (of a company), are not stocks, then what the heck are they?

Looking in current FT, UK stock prices are on a page headed 'FT Share Service'.
Other stocks are on a page headed 'American Stocks', then 'Other International Stocks'.
Gov't Bonds are headed 'Gilts - UK Cash Market'.

Looking in UK 'The Times', stock prices are on a page headed 'Equity Prices'.

So we are spoilt for choice.

Yours confused
See my post above. Stocks are gilts (or were).

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by hftrader » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:57 am

An entry on "Stocks" in a 1773 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica (http://books.google.com/books?id=Ow8UAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA629) mentions what it considers "improper" and "erroneous" usage of the term "stocks" to refer to bonds or other financial instruments.

"stocks are a share in a company's funds, bought without any condition of having the principal returned"

"India bonds indeed (by some persons, tho' erroneously, denominated stock) are to be excepted."

"By the word stock was originally meant a particular sum of money contributed to the establishing of fund to enable a company to carry on a certain trade by means of which the person became partner in the trade and received a share of profit made thereby, in proportion to the money employed"

"But this term has been extended further, though improperly, to signify any sum of money which has been lent to the government, on condition of receiving certain interest till the money is repaid, and which makes a part of national debt."

I also found an entry in "The Merchant's Magazine" from 1712 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Ma82AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA208) describing a stock broker, which uses the terms stock and shares in basically their modern meaning:

"Brokers of Stock are such as buy and sell Shares in Joint Stock for any one that shall desire them; as if I am minded to buy two Shares in the East-India Stock, I speak to a Broker if he knows of any to sell, he enquires and finds one that will sell two Shares, which the Broker buyeth for me at the Price currant on the Exchange, and when the same are transferred to me In the Company's Book, I pay for them."

Also, I don't think the "Stock Market" referred exclusively to trading UK government bonds at any point. In fact shares of "Joint Stock" companies were traded in London (starting in the 1500s - East-India Company was founded in 1600) long before the first government bonds were ever created (with the establishment of Bank of England in 1694) I believe the original meaning of Stock and Shares referred to the modern concept of equity, and bonds (both government and corporate) came later, but were then also traded on the same Stock Exchanges as equity shares, and the term 'Stock" became more ambiguous with time.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:52 pm

Thanks, VT. So, to a rough approximation, "stocks and shares" is a persistent expression that has outlasted its original meaning, which was what a modern US-ian would call "Treasuries and stocks." Or, thus, vaguely, "securities."
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:37 am

nisiprius wrote:Thanks, VT. So, to a rough approximation, "stocks and shares" is a persistent expression that has outlasted its original meaning, which was what a modern US-ian would call "Treasuries and stocks." Or, thus, vaguely, "securities."
"stocks and bonds" perhaps, in American?

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:39 am

hftrader wrote:An entry on "Stocks" in a 1773 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica (http://books.google.com/books?id=Ow8UAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA629) mentions what it considers "improper" and "erroneous" usage of the term "stocks" to refer to bonds or other financial instruments.

"stocks are a share in a company's funds, bought without any condition of having the principal returned"

"India bonds indeed (by some persons, tho' erroneously, denominated stock) are to be excepted."

"By the word stock was originally meant a particular sum of money contributed to the establishing of fund to enable a company to carry on a certain trade by means of which the person became partner in the trade and received a share of profit made thereby, in proportion to the money employed"

"But this term has been extended further, though improperly, to signify any sum of money which has been lent to the government, on condition of receiving certain interest till the money is repaid, and which makes a part of national debt."
That's interesting, but I can tell you that until the 1980s at least, that 'error' was common. 'UK Gilt Stock' is what Bloomberg calls the UK government bond market (top left hand corner of the basic UK gilt screen).

So it may be incorrect but it was also widely used.
I also found an entry in "The Merchant's Magazine" from 1712 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Ma82AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA208) describing a stock broker, which uses the terms stock and shares in basically their modern meaning:

"Brokers of Stock are such as buy and sell Shares in Joint Stock for any one that shall desire them; as if I am minded to buy two Shares in the East-India Stock, I speak to a Broker if he knows of any to sell, he enquires and finds one that will sell two Shares, which the Broker buyeth for me at the Price currant on the Exchange, and when the same are transferred to me In the Company's Book, I pay for them."

Also, I don't think the "Stock Market" referred exclusively to trading UK government bonds at any point. In fact shares of "Joint Stock" companies were traded in London (starting in the 1500s - East-India Company was founded in 1600) long before the first government bonds were ever created (with the establishment of Bank of England in 1694) I believe the original meaning of Stock and Shares referred to the modern concept of equity, and bonds (both government and corporate) came later, but were then also traded on the same Stock Exchanges as equity shares, and the term 'Stock" became more ambiguous with time.
Again very interesting.

I agree with you that the terms probably blurred, as 'shares' were held for dividends and expected to maintain those dividends.

UK government bonds in fact pay a 'dividend' (or have done) which further confuses the issue (because it's really a coupon).

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:42 am

Probably worth saying that in UK accounting a 'stock' of a company is what you call 'inventory'.

Share Capital is what you call 'issued stock'.

I once had to explain to a lost German couple that yes, they had found the 'subway' but what they really wanted was the 'Underground' or the 'Tube'.

The German U-Bahn is the American 'subway' (or the Paris Metro) but a 'subway' in the UK is just a pedestrian passage under a road ;-).

Two nations divided by a common language ;-).

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:32 am

hftrader wrote:An entry on "Stocks" in a 1773 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica... I also found an entry in "The Merchant's Magazine" from 1712 ...
Oh, EXCELLENT. Great finds.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:36 am

Valuethinker wrote:...The German U-Bahn is the American 'subway' (or the Paris Metro)...
Except, of course, that in Washington, D.C. the subterranean light rail is called the "Metro."
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Fallible » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:08 am

nisiprius wrote:I was surprised to read this in, of all places, James M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."
Mr. Darling used to boast to Wendy that her mother not only loved him but respected him. He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him....]
Can't shed any light on "stocks and shares," but I wonder just how he uttered that phrase to cause such "respect." There must be only so many ways to say "stocks are up and shares are down." ?
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Epsilon Delta » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:24 am

Valuethinker wrote:
That's interesting, but I can tell you that until the 1980s at least, that 'error' was common. 'UK Gilt Stock' is what Bloomberg calls the UK government bond market (top left hand corner of the basic UK gilt screen).

So it may be incorrect but it was also widely used.
What was incorrect in 1773 is not necessarily incorrect in 1980. Language changes*. So if you want to know what Barrie intended you have to start from the usage in 1900.

Many of the differences between British and American English are because American English is generally more conservative.

* Although changing the meaning of numbers in actual use seems a bit extreme, although that's what you get when you try to be like the French.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by sscritic » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:35 am

From the OED:

In modern [1933] British use the application of the word is narrowed: the subscribed capital of a public company is called shares when it is divided into portions of uniform amount and stock when any desired amount may be bought or sold. In British use, also, when there is no specific indication, stock is usually taken to refer to those portions of the National Debt, the principal of which is not repayable, the government being pledged only to the payment of interest in perpetuity.

See also
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 7#p2122277

This is the use Barrie would have known. Note the "no specific indication" as when Barrie (or rather Mr. Darling) gave no specific indication.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by nisiprius » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:47 am

sscritic wrote:...In modern [1933] British use the application of the word is narrowed: the subscribed capital of a public company is called shares when it is divided into portions of uniform amount and stock when any desired amount may be bought or sold...
I like that one as a candidate for the meaning of the word in the coupled phrase "stocks and shares." Amazing. I had no idea that, before the invention of mutual funds, there was any way at all to buy "any desired amount" of stock. I somehow assumed that stock was intrinsically quantized into shares. In "Mary Poppins," I wonder if little Michael Banks had the option of using his tuppence to buy stock in the Cape to Cairo Red Line, as an alternative either to buying bird food from the old lady OR depositing it in the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. But I suspect that even back in the 1930s they had invented "fees."
Fallible wrote:
nisiprius wrote:I was surprised to read this in, of all places, James M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."
...[Mr. Darling] often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him...]
Can't shed any light on "stocks and shares," but I wonder just how he uttered that phrase to cause such "respect." There must be only so many ways to say "stocks are up and shares are down." ?
Nothing I say to my wife about mutual funds evokes respect. There must be a way. Maybe I need to watch CNBC and copy Jim Cramer's style of delivery. (I always get confused as to whether I'm watching CNBC or pro wrestling...) Or maybe I should just be glad she does call me "Darling" and leave it at that.
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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by sscritic » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:04 pm

nisiprius wrote:
sscritic wrote:...In modern [1933] British use the application of the word is narrowed: the subscribed capital of a public company is called shares when it is divided into portions of uniform amount and stock when any desired amount may be bought or sold...
I like that one as a candidate for the meaning of the word in the coupled phrase "stocks and shares." Amazing. I had no idea that, before the invention of mutual funds, there was any way at all to buy "any desired amount" of stock.
But
stocks were up and shares were down
would point to the other use, of stock referring to consols (bonds paying interest with no maturity date). Mr. Darling believed in having a balanced portfolio, diversifying between shares and consols.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by hftrader » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:24 pm

Here is another interesting source, a book "Stocks and Shares" by Hartley Withers originally published in 1910, contemporary to Peter Pan.

In the introduction it states : (https://archive.org/stream/stocksshares ... 4/mode/2up)

"Stocks and Shares, as dealt in on the Stock Exchanges of the world, fall into two main classes. They represent either (1) the debts of Governments, municipalities and other public bodies, or (2) the debts and capitals of joins stock companies."

And later : (https://archive.org/stream/stocksshares ... 2/mode/2up)

"The Forms Of Securities : Stocks, Shares, and Bonds are the chief items among these forms, and all three of them, according to the perplexing habit of business nomenclature which seems to go out of its way to be unscientific and confusing, are commonly referred to as stocks. The word stock has meant many things in the course of its versatile career."

"Proceeding in its evolution the word transferred its meaning to the securities received by those who subscribed the capital of companies, and then divided itself again to mean marketable securities in general, and a certain kind of marketable security in particular. In its general sense it is applied to all the securities dealt in on the Stock Exchange."

It does then explain the specific distinction between the terms as used at that time (as was also mentioned by others above) :

"In this particular sense, stock is distinguished from shares by being divisible into, and transferable in, odd and varying amounts" ... "its distinguishing feature, which divides it from shares and bonds, is this fact that it can be split into any odd amount" ... "Another distinction between stock, in its strict and particular sense, and other securities lies in the fact that stock is always registered or inscribed, while shares and bonds may be what are called "bearer" securities." ... "Stocks, as we have seen, is always either registered or inscribed, whereas shares can be either registered or to bearer. Whether registered or to bearer, shares are distinguished from stock by being expressed in definite amounts, and indivisible."

"Shares are always portions of a company's capital, while stock may represent either capital or debt."

Btw, here is the Peter Pan passage from a 1908 play (When Wendy Grew Up: An Afterthought, an epilogue to the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up), slightly different than the one you quoted on top:

"WENDY Yes and we bought this house at 3 per cents from Grand-Papa because he felt the stairs. And Papa is very clever, and knows all about Stocks and Shares. Of course he doesn't really know about them, nobody really knows, but in the mornings when he wakes up fresh he says 'Stocks are up and Shares are down' in a way that makes Mummy very, very proud of him."

The way this reads to me supports more the idea that the phrase is intentionally contradictory, in other words Stocks and Shares refers to the same thing, and one being up while other being down is a bit of playful nonsense highlighting the arcane and confusing nature of the stock market, as opposed to carrying some deeper meaning about the inverse movement of bond and stock prices. I could of course be wrong.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:28 am

nisiprius wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:...The German U-Bahn is the American 'subway' (or the Paris Metro)...
Except, of course, that in Washington, D.C. the subterranean light rail is called the "Metro."
The difference, perhaps, is that so many north American cities have underground railways that we have a generic term 'the subway'.

In the UK, there is only Glasgow, Newcastle and London. London is by far the largest of the 3, and the world's first (New York is actually larger in extent, not sure about Moscow and Tokyo). (a number of cities have streetcars, which are known as 'trams': Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh at least).

So Londoners call it 'The Underground' or 'The Tube'. Not to be confused with 'The Overground' (a railway system also operated by Transport for London), the Docklands Light Railway (an elevated railway) or DLR, or the South London tramlink (not sure what the locals call that).

In the same way Torontonians sometimes call it 'the TTC' (all public transit in the city Toronto Transit Commission), and perhaps in other cities there is a specific word.

The best book title I have ever read about urban transport is 'The Revenge of the Methodist Bicycle Company' about the mayoral election in Victorian Toronto in which the key issue was whether streetcars would run on Sunday (they did, but bicycling took off as a leisure past time, so the streetcar companies did not make as much money as they had hoped-- eventually they were nationalized, sparing Toronto from GM's depredations).

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:57 am

hftrader wrote:Here is another interesting source, a book "Stocks and Shares" by Hartley Withers originally published in 1910, contemporary to Peter Pan.

In the introduction it states : (https://archive.org/stream/stocksshares ... 4/mode/2up)

"Stocks and Shares, as dealt in on the Stock Exchanges of the world, fall into two main classes. They represent either (1) the debts of Governments, municipalities and other public bodies, or (2) the debts and capitals of joins stock companies."

And later : (https://archive.org/stream/stocksshares ... 2/mode/2up)

"The Forms Of Securities : Stocks, Shares, and Bonds are the chief items among these forms, and all three of them, according to the perplexing habit of business nomenclature which seems to go out of its way to be unscientific and confusing, are commonly referred to as stocks. The word stock has meant many things in the course of its versatile career."

"Proceeding in its evolution the word transferred its meaning to the securities received by those who subscribed the capital of companies, and then divided itself again to mean marketable securities in general, and a certain kind of marketable security in particular. In its general sense it is applied to all the securities dealt in on the Stock Exchange."

It does then explain the specific distinction between the terms as used at that time (as was also mentioned by others above) :

"In this particular sense, stock is distinguished from shares by being divisible into, and transferable in, odd and varying amounts" ... "its distinguishing feature, which divides it from shares and bonds, is this fact that it can be split into any odd amount" ... "Another distinction between stock, in its strict and particular sense, and other securities lies in the fact that stock is always registered or inscribed, while shares and bonds may be what are called "bearer" securities." ... "Stocks, as we have seen, is always either registered or inscribed, whereas shares can be either registered or to bearer. Whether registered or to bearer, shares are distinguished from stock by being expressed in definite amounts, and indivisible."

"Shares are always portions of a company's capital, while stock may represent either capital or debt."

Btw, here is the Peter Pan passage from a 1908 play (When Wendy Grew Up: An Afterthought, an epilogue to the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up), slightly different than the one you quoted on top:

"WENDY Yes and we bought this house at 3 per cents from Grand-Papa because he felt the stairs. And Papa is very clever, and knows all about Stocks and Shares. Of course he doesn't really know about them, nobody really knows, but in the mornings when he wakes up fresh he says 'Stocks are up and Shares are down' in a way that makes Mummy very, very proud of him."

The way this reads to me supports more the idea that the phrase is intentionally contradictory, in other words Stocks and Shares refers to the same thing, and one being up while other being down is a bit of playful nonsense highlighting the arcane and confusing nature of the stock market, as opposed to carrying some deeper meaning about the inverse movement of bond and stock prices. I could of course be wrong.
I am absolutely clear that before American language took over London finance, it was the "UK Gilt Stock" market. And indeed (some) Bloomberg pages still say that.

And that UK gilts paid 'dividends' (I am not sure if that term is still used) when they are really coupons.

I agree that usage is confusing.

I don't know what was common in 1900 (I'd have to look up David Kynaston's history of The City of London (ie of finance in London)-- 3 volumes-- to see if it says anything).

BTW a senior (head of) government gilts broker at a bank used to have to wear a top hat and tails to work. Not sure when that tradition ended, but it was around in the 1990s.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by an_asker » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:07 am

If you share your stock, who will keep stock of your shares? ;-)

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:48 am

Valuethinker wrote: I agree that usage is confusing.

I don't know what was common in 1900 (I'd have to look up David Kynaston's history of The City of London (ie of finance in London)-- 3 volumes-- to see if it says anything).

BTW a senior (head of) government gilts broker at a bank used to have to wear a top hat and tails to work. Not sure when that tradition ended, but it was around in the 1990s.
British usage is not uniform, and is often a battle ground of class distinction. It's possible that people in top hats had one usage and everybody else used another. The prescriptive view tends to be that a hundred people in top hats are correct and millions are in error. The descriptive view would be more likely to look at all sources, including, for example, tabloids and penny dreadfuls as examples of mass usage.

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Re: "Stocks and shares," different things? "Peter Pan"

Post by Oicuryy » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:33 pm

Felix Martin in his book Money: The Unauthorized Biography said this while describing Exchequer tallies - strips of wood that recorded financial transactions in England until the late eighteenth century.
Once the details of the payment had been recorded on the tally stick, it was split down the middle from end to end so that each party to the transaction could keep a record. The creditor’s half was called the “stock,” and the debtor’s the “foil”: hence the English use of the term “stocks” for Treasury bonds, which survives to this day.
Also see Split tally in England

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