EARNINGS: Better

As second-quarter earnings reports began to clog the ticker tapes last week, one fact stood out: despite hell & high taxes U.S. corporations made more money than they had dared hope. The gloomily Republican New York Sun totted up 155 companies' earnings, came out with a 16.6% increase for this year's June quarter over last year's; a 14.1% gain for the first half.

Outside of the good overall earnings, there were few surprises and little to cheer about. Biggest surprise: a good many utilities, whose outlook for increased earnings was supposedly hopeless—their gross...

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