Business: Best Year of Their Lives

Stockholders in U.S. corporations have never had it so good. The Commerce Department reported last week that cash dividends in 1955 totaled a record $10.4 billion v. $9.2 billion paid them in 1954, the previous peak year. And as a flood of record earnings came out last week, the prospects looked good for continued fat dividends. Among the leaders:

¶General Motors announced a net profit of $1,189,000,000—the first year a corporation has topped $1 billion (previous peak: $834 million in 1950). G.M.'s profits outraced sales; on sales 27% higher than in 1954, G.M. netted 48% more profit.

¶Standard Oil...

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