STATE OF BUSINESS: Second-Quarter Box Score

As the first big batch of second-quarter earnings came out last week, it looked as if overall quarterly results would echo an old refrain: sales up, profits down. Of the first 130 companies to report, most could point to a slightly higher gross, but the average net was down 7% from 1951. Nevertheless, the stock market found no cause for alarm in the reports. The Dow-Jones industrial average, having forged ahead to a new 22-year high a week before, edged still higher to 279.26 before easing off.

There were no patterns of gains...

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