EARNINGS: Embarrassment of Riches

With industrial production at the peak, most Wall Streeters had only one question about first-quarter earnings: How big would they be? Last week, as the first big batch of reports came in, happy anticipation fell short of the reality. In general, earnings were so good that, amid the clamor over high prices, they were well-nigh embarrassing.

Of the 262 companies reporting, 196 made more money this year than in last year's first quarter. For many companies, the two quarters were not comparable, due to the strikes and material shortages in 1946. Nevertheless, this year's earnings shone golden even against...

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