EARNINGS: What's Up?

Everybody had been prepared for some pretty glum news when the profits accounts for 1949's first six months were totted up. Last week, with most of the earnings figures in, the news was surprisingly good. Out of 425 companies reporting, about 40% had bettered their 1948 profits; only 27 companies lost money.

General Motors, one of the biggest single U.S. employers, was acting as if it had never heard the word "recession." First-half profits hit an astronomical $303.7 million, 46% above 1948. The reason: as steel became plentiful this year, G.M. was able for the first time since the war to...

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