EARNINGS: Wonderful

In the outpouring of first-quarter earnings, many a company reported the best sales and profits in its history. Of 236 companies which had reported by last week, 167—or 71%—showed profit rises. The food industry, helped by lower commodity prices, furnished some of the rosiest reading. Clinton Foods (Snow Crop frozen foods) had a 651% gain (to $1,200,000), Continental Baking almost 132% (to $1,400,000). A. E. Staley had a 125% gain, to $1,200,000, and Corn Products Refining was up 60% ($3,800,000).

Soapmakers also profited from the state of the commodity market. Colgate's net was up 46%. The chemical industry was also...

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