STATE OF BUSINESS: Optimistic Mood

U.S. steelmen gathered in Manhattan in an optimistic mood last week at the annual meeting of the American Iron and Steel Institute. A decline in the steel index that dropped production from 98% of capacity in January to last week's 87% seemed about over; many steelmakers reported a pickup in orders. The good news came at just the right time. Steelmaker after steelmaker said the U.S. is in for another steel price rise, for the twelfth consecutive year since World War II, to offset an automatic wage rise in July. Some plugged for $10 a ton, claiming that last...

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