Business: Earnings: Better

Some dollar signs of recovery appeared last week in still another anxiously regarded sector of the U.S. economy: corporate profits. A few hard-goods industries still showed losses; aluminum earnings reflected the profit-cutting effects of a 2¢-per-lb. price cut in April. Except for small-car-champion American Motors, Detroit's automakers bumped steadily on through their worst year in a decade. Railroads continued to lose. But many another industry reported itself over the worst of the recession, with improving sales and earnings. Steel earnings climbed along with the operating rate at the mills. Most chemicals also rose, demonstrating the effectiveness of cost-control programs.


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