CORPORATIONS: A Present for Ma Bell

By granting a rate increase to American Telephone & Telegraph Co. last week, the Federal Communications Commission took an action that will help to buttress the U.S. stock market, prop up capital spending and hold down interest charges. When AT&T rates and profits rise, many things happen in the broader realm of business. First, AT&T stock gets a lift; because it is the most widely held issue of all—3,750,000 investors directly own 549 million shares—a rise in "telephone" tends to give a psychological impetus to the whole market. Second, the company can more easily draw upon earnings to finance expansion...

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