August 12, 2009

Wednesday, August 13, 1930: Dow 217.24 -6.89 (3.1%)

Entertainment news:

Movement is growing to ban animal acts in France on grounds of cruelty; Jack London Club has already succeeded in banning then from British stage. French trainers reply that “animal training in France is achieved by kindness, and not, as in certain other continental countries, by brutalizing methods.” Regardless, animal acts have already declined in popularity from golden age 50 years ago, when they headlined many circus and vaudeville seasons. Great acts included Van Amburg, who literally made lion lie down with lamb; G.K. Bailey's hippopotamus in wheeled tank, advertised as “the blood-sweating Behemoth of holy writ”; two rival fake white elephants shown by Barnum and Forepaugh; and Bill the vaudeville bicycle-riding chimpanzee, who died last year just before his circus debut.

Assorted historical stuff:

US has 7% of world population, but consumes 69% of crude oil, 47% of copper, 56% of rubber, 48% of coffee [!], 21% of sugar, 35% of electric power. Produces 70% of oil, 60% of wheat and cotton, 50% of copper, 40% of coal. Holds about 50% of world's monetary gold, 2/3 of “total banking resources.”

Miraculous in their functions, electrons transmit the slightest change in tone and can build the faintest whisper into a thunderous shout. Heart beats and the murmur of minute insects can be amplified through electrons for analyses.”

British govt. committee preparing for imperial conference considering 10% general tariff with rebate for dominions (member of empire).

Cost of keeping NY City clean estimated at $50M for 1931 fiscal year vs. $34.1M for current year.

In year ended June 30, 12M cars crossed international borders of US.

About 25,000 miniature golf courses in US, representing investment of $125M.

Market commentary:

Market fluctuated narrowly on low volume for first 4 hours, but broke in final hour. Early bear efforts followed Dept. of Agriculture's grim drought damage estimates as of Aug 1. Some rallying based on late-morning forecasts for extensive showers in grain country, and news of some improvement in steel production. However, aggressive bear efforts and declines resumed in final hour; general market under heavy pressure at close, many stocks closed at lows. US Steel, other majors closed at new lows for current reaction. Utilities, banks and trusts weak. Bond market dull, irregular; govts., high grade steady, preferreds slightly up.

There were 2 new yearly highs and 57 new lows.

Some major industrials' declines from a year ago today: Allied Chemical 333 3/4 to 244; American Can 170 1/2 to 113 3/4; AT&T 284 7/8 to 203 1/2; Consolidated Gas 171 3/4 to 101 1/2; GM 70 3/4 to 42 1/2; US Steel 245 to 156 5/8.

Markets may come and go, up and down, but the crop of market letters remains as large as ever.”

Bad earnings are expected for third quarter, based upon expected delay of general business recovery to mid-Sept. or Oct. This may have been at least partly discounted in current market prices.

Market now considered stronger technically, since most liquidation on account of poor business conditions has already happened. Frazier, Jelke, & Co. point out that each successive “selling climax” since last October (Nov. 13, Dec. 20, June 24, Aug. 9) has been less violent and lower volume; technically, this indicates “the bear market now is pretty well burned out.” All stocks may not have hit their lows, but “we feel quite confident that pessimism is about at its peak, and that any changes in market psychology and economic trends will be for the better.”

C.R. Walgreen, Pres. Walgreen Co., says his business is in excellent shape; on general business conditions, “I look for an improvement ... but not right away. I cannot see indications of much change this year, but I am hopeful that improvement is not far off.”

Some inquiring statisticians are seeking Civil War veterans to obtain first-hand opinion of what happened economically after that war.”

Economic news and individual company reports:

Rail car loadings for week ended Aug. 2 were 918,335 cars, down 1,014 from previous week, down 16.9% from 1929, and 12.4% from 1928.

NY State Industrial Commissioner Frances Perkins reports factory employment decreased 4% between mid-June and mid-July, much worse than usual seasonal decline of 1%. Index has declined to 83.3 from 100.4 in October 1929, lowest point since the index was started in June 1914.

Fed. Reserve members report for week ended Aug. 6 “all other” (commercial) loans down $57M, reverse of usual seasonal pattern. Deposits down $173M.

Companies reporting decent earnings: Mead-Johnson (baby and diet foods), Standard Cap & Seal, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad [against general trend].

Heads of large steel companies, including US Steel and Bethlehem, come out against wage cuts reportedly discussed by smaller steel companies on grounds that they would slow business recovery.

+ The Boring Stuff:

Canada now has 17 air mail lines covering 6,215 miles extending 300 miles beyond the Arctic Circle, including Alkavik, northernmost point of any air mail service.

Mexico may adopt version of Young plan [for German debt] in which foreign and internal debts totalling over $1B would be funded through single “gigantic banking agreement,” following “a general financial rehabilitation program to be put into effect by the Mexican government.” Not known what effect this would have on last month's renegotiation of about $500M of Mexican bond debt.

Commodities generally lower. Wheat sharply lower. Corn swung widely but closed down only moderately. Cotton down to new season lows following poor demand figures. Rubber down to new low of 9.65 cents.

Corn situation considered extreme; Agriculture Dept. forecast as of Aug 1 is for 2.2B bushel crop vs. July 1 forecast of 2.8B and 5-year average of 2.7B. Considering lack of rain since Aug. 1, crop may come in around 2B; together with carryover of 300M, total available would be just 2.3B. Wheat crop will probably be larger than 1929; cotton still up in the air. Agriculture Dept. predicts full wheat surplus from this and past years will be needed for feed and human consumption. Effect on farm income uncertain; large scale shift of wealth between farm areas possible.

Stock market action was characteristic of “culminating stages of a major decline.” Bears switched from group to group, including grain railways, mail order stocks, coppers, trying to find weak points for further declines.

Conservative observers still recommend reducing any long positions on rallies, and remaining on sidelines until a definite trend reversal is seen.

Wages paid by 162 class 1 rails in May were $229.6M to 1.601M employees, vs. $225.8M to 1.573M in April and $250.7M to 1.714M in May 1929.

First in railroad fuel economy was the Chesapeake and Ohio, using 84 pounds of coal/1000 gross tons hauled 1 mile. Second was Pere Marquette, using 100.

Steel ingot production industry-wide was at 56% past week vs. 58% previous week and 57.5% two weeks before; US Steel was at a little under 63%, starting the week at 64%, dipping to 61% midweek, and increasing slightly toward end of week. Activity corresponding week in 1929 was at 93%.

Auto production as a whole estimated running slightly under level from before July shutdowns; companies with new models operating at higher level. Any increase in end demand expected to be transmitted immediately to increased production, demand for raw materials and parts, due to very low inventories.

National Industrial Conf. Bd. reports farm wages increased 67% from 1914 to 1929, vs. 125% for industrial wages.

Gasoline in storage at refineries last week was 42.729M barrels, down 1.371M from previous week, vs. 34.021M corresponding week in 1929, but lowest point of the year so far. Crude oil production was 2.480M barrels/day, down 34,950 from previous week and 415,650 from 1929.

International Match [Kreuger-associated] to buy $30M German bonds as part of $125M 50-year maturity 6% loan to Germany in exchange for rights to most of German match industry. No new financing needed; proceeds of French redemption of previous $75M loan used.

No comments:

Post a Comment