MODERN LIVING: The Automatic Salesmen

Wall Street's newest romance is with the automatic vending-machine industry, which is changing the eating and buying habits of America. Shares in vending companies have suddenly been tagged with the magic phrase "growth stocks," have risen spectacularly in a declining market. In January, the stock of Universal Match, which rings up 40% of its sales in vending equipment, sold for 83, last week closed at 134¾. Vendo, the largest maker of automatic vending machines, has jumped from 23¾ to 66, while Automatic Canteen, biggest combined food-selling and machine-manufacturing company, rose from 21 to 31½.

Vending-machine sales rose from $600 million in...

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