Business: Base of the Boom

The U.S. economy's transition from recovery to boom was underscored last week by first-quarter earnings from the nation's two leading steelmakers. Top-ranking U.S. Steel Corp. reported a 9.9% return on sales for a net of $106.6 million, or $1.86 per share, up more than 70% from $1.04 per share for the first quarter last year. Bethlehem Steel Corp., second largest producer, doubled its first-quarter earnings per share to $1.06 from 52¢ last year.

Both U.S. Steel Chairman Roger M. Blough and Bethlehem Steel President Arthur B. Homer said that, barring a long strike, the...

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