Nation: Perils of a Planemaker

How will McDonnell Douglas Corp., the nation's largest defense contractor with 1978 sales of $4.13 billion, weather the troubles afflicting its DC-10? Investors are taking a gloomy view. Since the Chicago disaster, the company's stock has dropped from $28.25 to $20.88.

Before the accident, the planemaker was looking good. It had more than $750 million in cash and, after its slow start, its ten-year, $1 billion investment in the DC-10 was about to pay off. The company needs 400 sales of the $40 million plane to cover costs and start making profits. It...

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