Earnings: Special Circumstances

What kind of third-quarter profits could a company expect if it sold Piels Beer in Newark and Schmidt Beer in Detroit during the riot-racked period from July to September? The answer came last week, when the Associated Brewing Co. of Detroit, which was in exactly that unfortunate sales position, announced that it will have to report "a very substantial decrease" in third-quarter earnings v. last year's profit of $539,143. Associated's explanation: special circumstances.

Third-quarter reports include many such circumstances. Total corporate profits for the quarter will reach about $80.5 billion before taxes on an annual basis, or slightly better...

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