EARNINGS: Golden Flood

As the outpouring of first-quarter earnings hit their flood last week, they washed up a few surprises. Biggest surprise was that many companies made more money this year than in the vintage year of 1944. despite a wide shift in war orders and increasing operating costs. The National City Bank of New York, totting up the returns of some 310 companies, reported that net profits, after taxes, were up a respectable 6% for the quarter.

Surprise No. 2 was the newly acquired Midas touch of the airlines. Thanks to the Army, which returned 251 planes, the airlines finally had enough...

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