Of Oil and Paper

The takeovers of Mobil and Union Camp show how low inflation hits commodity stocks

Mobil spent millions of dollars trying to convince us that it had the cleanest gasoline, one that made your engine run smoother. Union Camp spent millions of dollars trying to convince us that it had the cleanest paper, Great White, that made your copier run smoother. In the end, few consumers were willing to pay more for a particular brand of either common commodity--gasoline or plain white paper. Now both companies are succumbing to longtime rivals, Exxon and International Paper, in deals that were unthinkable just a short time ago. Suddenly, neither Mobil nor Union Camp could be assured of making...

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