EARNINGS: The Red & the Black

Businessmen last week took a deep breath, and looked apprehensively at the first big batch of first quarter earnings. Then they relaxed somewhat. Despite the steel and coal strikes, rising costs and OPA ceilings, many a company had managed to earn a heart-warming amount of folding money. One big reason was that consumer spending for goods and services in the first quarter, according to a Commerce Department estimate, was at the record rate of $120 billion a year (1945 total: $103.6 billion).

Out of 213 of the first companies reporting, 127 did better in 1946 than in 1945; 86 did worse....

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