STATE OF BUSINESS: Earnings in the Dip

Out came a batch of earnings reports last week for the fourth quarter of 1957, the first quarter of the dip. The trend in most cases was downward, but like the economy itself, the reports added up to a mixture of good and bad. Even in cases where fourth-quarter earnings fell, the fall was often not great enough to prevent the company from totting up record earnings for the year.

The hard-hit steel industry, operating at only 55-4% of capacity, was down from the record quarter a year ago when it was still making up for strike losses in output....

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