Assorted historical stuff:
Editorial: Preparatory Disarmament Commission meeting at Geneva has run into many obstacles, but it doesn't follow the nations involved “are secretly bent on making war”; they may just be “accustomed of old” to armament and mutual suspicion. Latest obstacle is reluctance of US to base limitation on spending due to higher prevailing US wages. London Naval Conference also had potential flaw since it limited number of ships but not each ship's capabilities. These obstacles, however, are not final and may be overcome; there may be “many short steps on the long hard road toward limitation of arms.”
Gov. Roosevelt reappoints committee named in March to study unemployment, asks members to plan loan funds to sustain those completely out of work
Some descriptions of early steam locomotives: “puffing billies,” “snorting race horses,” “hell on wheels,” “devil wagons,” “iron horses,” “black dragons snorting sparks.” The term “devil wagons” was also applied to early cars.
In its first 2 weeks Transcontinental & Western Air, first all-air line between NY and Los Angeles, carried 2,041 passengers, completed 95% of scheduled flights.
Number of movie theaters in Europe and Britain is 33,870, up 11,445 theaters and 5.283M seats since 1926. Germany has most, Russia and Britain follow.
Warner Bros. announces golf champion Bobby Jones will retire from competition to make series of one-reel instructional films for them.
Market wrap: Extensive profit taking set in after five days of rising prices; active stocks suffered sizeable setbacks from rally highs. Market opened down on accumulated orders, steadied momentarily, but began another slow decline around 11. However, action of majors was very encouraging to bulls, since “it was evident that the selling was coming mostly from day-to-day traders, and that distress liquidation” was no longer substantial. With “banking sponsors ... standing aside to allow the market to digest its recent gains,” efforts by bears to speed the decline were thwarted by drying up of selling volume. Banks and trusts weak. Bond market showed early strength but then turned dull and mildly reactionary; US govts. firm; foreign slightly lower; corp. mixed.
Dominick & Dominick point to enormous US savings reserves as placing “people in a better position to withstand the present depression” than any time in history. In past 15 years, savings bank deposits tripled to $28.5B, or $232 per capita, vs. $40 in Britain, $33 in Germany, and $10 in France.
Harvard Economic Society says “now near the end of the declining phase of the depression,” which should happen in early 1931; sees “steady but gradual revival for the remainder of that year.” Sees low interest rates enabling long term borrowing on favorable terms.
Head of one of the largest steel cos. says operations below 50% are not bearish but rather indicate “customers will have to buy in the very near future. Even in a depression the country, through actual needs, requires more than 50% of the country's steel capacity.” Confident industry will be at 80%-90% by next spring.
Head of an oil company, when asked if his stock was cheap: “Use your own judgement ... If we liquidated today, we could, out of working capital, pay our shareholders more than the stock is selling for,” while still having fixed assets such as refineries, pipelines, wells, etc.
When buying for yield, make sure dividend is safe; stocks with unusually high yield “are often dearer in the long run than stocks not so attractive” in terms of yield.
Economic news and individual company reports:
Numerous banks closed - 6 in Kentucky, 3 in Illinois, 4 in Missouri, over 30 in Arkansas. Many of the closures said due to “rumors” and “hasty withdrawals” following collapse of Caldwell & Co. of Nashville, Tenn., largest investment house in the South. Among larger banks closed were National Bank of Kentucky ($41.1M in deposits), Amer. Bank & Trust ($15M), and Quincy State Savings ($6M).
Income tax receipts running slightly below expectations so far in the fiscal year; for the first quarter (Jul. 1 - Sept. 30), receipts were down $55.0M, vs. expected decline of $160M for the whole fiscal year. Treasury expected to wait until Mar. 15 to complete borrowing plans since extent of decline will be better known then.
Commerce Dept. reports Oct. exports $328M, up $16M from Sept. but down from $528.4M in 1929; imports $248M, up $22M but down from $391.0M.
1930 earnings for 8 leading car cos. estimated at $154.7M, down 53.9% from 1929 and 58.7% from record 1928. At recent lows, total market cap of the 8 cos. was $1.724B, down $761M from 1929 and down $3.566B from 1928 (cos. are GM, Packard, Nash, Chrysler, Studebaker, Mack Trucks, Hudson, and White).
Farm Board announces has resumed purchases of wheat to check panic selling; about 10M bushels bought in past 4 days, bringing total holdings to 70M.
S.W. Straus reports building permits issued in 589 cities in Oct. were $153.1M, down 10% from Sept. and 40% from 1929; usual Oct. seasonal increase is 5%.
US Bureau of Mines reports petroleum storage (crude and refined) on Sept. 30 was 678.5M barrels, down 10.7M from Jan. 1, but still problematically large.
Companies reporting decent earnings: Procter & Gamble, Cuneo Press (commercial printing).
Hello, Paris - musical comedy presented by the Messrs. Shubert. “Charles 'Chic' Sales, our most thoroughgoing and hilarious mimic,” plays his standard character, “practically extinct in farce and vaudeville ... the hick, from the small town, as distinguished from the rube, from the small farm. He and his cronies take a chaw from the same plug, spit in the stove,” and believe anyone from a town of over 50,000 is morally suspect. “Care and expense have been bestowed on settings and costumes, appropriate to scenes on an oil field, in a New York speakeasy, on a pier, in the salon of a liner, and in the Cafe Lapin Agile in Paris.”
“'Did you cancel all my engagements as I told you, Smithers?' 'Yes, sir, but Lady Millicent didn't take it very well. She said you were to marry her next Monday.'”
“An orator, warming to his task, took off his coat, which rather disconcerted one of the stewards of the meeting ... Toward the close, he said to the speaker 'I don't suppose you knew, when you removed your coat, that a newspaper man was present?' 'Yes, I did,' was the reply, 'but I kept my eye on the coat all the time.'”
+ The Boring Stuff: