In spring, there is usually an upsurge in business. But last week, after two months of softening prices and sliding retail sales, businessmen were still waiting for the upturn. The whole economy seemed poised on such hairspring scales that businessmen took courage, or fright, from every vagrant sign. The stock market was a perfect example.

The bull market's pacesetter has been a famed old speculator's favorite, Northern Pacific, which shot up because of its vast land holdings in the Northwest's Williston oil basin. Last week Texaco's Chairman W.S.S. Rodgers told his stockholders at their annual meeting that the basin...

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