The Economy: Relieved of a Burden

It was more a truce than a treaty, but last week's steel settlement lifted a great burden from U.S. business, which had lived in dread and uncertainty for months about the possibility of a strike. The stock market climbed to three new records after the news, wound up the week with the Dow-Jones average standing at a robust 922. Most important, relief turned to a fresh wave of optimism as good economic news continued to pour in.

Auto sales in mid-April were 14% greater than a year ago, and Detroit's six-millionth car of...