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Investors seemed to approve of Singer's decision to cut its ties to sewing. The company's stock closed the week at 49 1/2, 24% higher than it had been before the spin-off was announced. Says Charles Ryan, an investment analyst for Merrill Lynch: "Singer correctly read the writing on the wall. Its sewing business had become an albatross."
An unsentimental view, to be sure, but not unprecedented. International Harvester (now called Navistar International) last year stopped manufacturing farm tractors, and Hughes Aircraft no longer makes airplanes. As times change and competition gets ever tougher, companies seem to have few qualms about dumping the products that made them famous.