June 5, 2009

Friday, June 6, 1930: Dow 268.59 -3.85 (1.4%)

Assorted historical stuff:

Was Chesley Sullenberger, Sr. at the controls? - A New York-bound Colonial Air Transport plane crashed into Boston Harbor shortly after takeoff. The 14 passengers on board were badly shaken up, but nobody was hurt.

Optimistic editorial saying Italy may not be as bent on war as Mussolini's outbursts indicate, based on some more friendly overtures from the foreign minister. “Mussolini strove successfully to give the impression that Italy was ready to fly at her western neighbor's throat” but this was for domestic consumption; “Premier Tardieu replied for France calmly, almost casually.”

The British government abandoned the long-contemplated plan for a tunnel under the English Channel.

Those wacky British have also come up with their own terms of telephone lingo, including telephonist instead of operator, and engaged instead of busy.

The most common lists of suckers used as prospects by stock fraudsters: 1) “the list of 1,000 millionaire widows,” 2) clergymen, 3) lawyers.

Total market value of all stocks and bonds listed on the New York Stock Exchange is 123.4 billion compared to less than 61 billion at the start of 1925.

Market commentary:

Yet another editorial against the Smoot-Hawley tariff criticizes a Congressman Williamson for deceptive arguments in favor: Example of the Congressman's distortions: “This is equal to going into the cotton market where middling is the basic grade, and comparing 'middling fair,' which is a high premium grade, with 'low middling,' a grade selling considerably below the basic.”

Market sluggish, commodity prices sluggish, money sluggish, and sentiment sluggish.”

Volume increased yesterday, bearish professionals active, based on bad business news, particularly in the steel and automotive industries.

Investment trusts (1930's version of mutual funds) undergoing consolidation after market break last fall - “a few arose from necessity resulting from unfortunate experiences in conducting investing activities through lack of preparedness for the fall break” - or, as Buffett more clearly put it some time later, you don't see who's swimming naked until the tide goes out. The New York Trust Co. weighs in with the observation that when deciding if an investment company can offer superior results to those of an individual investor, “management is of paramount importance.”

Economic news and individual company reports:

Short term rates cut by 1/8 percent to 2 1/8.

Manufacturing production in April up 1% over March but “considerably below” 1929. Output of minerals in April up 7% over March but down from 1929. Unfilled orders for manufactured goods down in April both from March and from 1929.

GE plunges on failure to declare special dividend in addition to ordinary one.

Crude rubber prices hit new lows.

Steel scrap markets flat to lower.

Ford car and truck production 191,813 in May against 200,903 in 1929.

Tire prices reduced by Goodyear and other manufacturers.

Gasoline consumption 10% ahead of a year ago.

General Tire & Rubber May business ahead of 1929, plant running at capacity.

Canadian dollar trades at a premium to U.S.dollar.

Otherwise timely joke cleaned up for racism:

A small-town man through painful thrift saved $500 in a checking account of his local bank. Moving to Richmond, he wrote a check to to cover expenses which came back promptly marked 'No funds.' He called for an explanation and received the answer: 'Oh, that doesn't mean you don't have the funds – it means we don't.'

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