June 19, 2009

Friday, June 20, 1930: Dow 228.97 +10.13 (4.6%)

Assorted historical stuff:

About 1.7 million copies of the Manhattan telephone directory have been produced; it contains 460,000 listings of which about 285,000 are new or changed.

GE proposes a voluntary unemployment insurance plan, to be adopted by each plant based on workers vote. Workers would contribute 1% of salary with matching contribution by GE; unemployed workers would draw 50% of their salaries from the fund.

Weakness in Bolivian bonds due to rumors of revolution, however “revolutions in South American countries are of frequent occurrence and should not disturb the bonds of other foreign nations.”

German political situation is delicate; Paul Moldenhauer becomes the third German financial leader to resign in the past few months.

J.P. Morgan announces that Mexican Treasury Secretary will visit New York to discuss Mexico's resuming payments on debt that have been suspended for the past several years.

El Universal, a leading Mexican newspaper, suggests a boycott of American goods in response to the tariff.

France imposing prohibitive tax on billboards to prevent disfiguring of the countryside.

Market commentary:

Leading stocks rallied strongly off recent lows, led by US Steel, with GE, American Can, Union Carbide, and other leading industrials also participating. trading was heavy early but slowed sharply in the afternoon; ticker generally kept up. Sentiment much improved; traders more cheerful.

Buying by short-term traders feeling the market had become technically oversold following three days of liquidation, and also by investors looking for “long-pull commitments” attracted by low stock prices and high dividend yields. Illogical to expect a return to pre-Great War stock market levels considering the large increase in the country's wealth since. Short-covering also accounted for some buying; companies that were the recent target of bear attacks rallied especially strongly including Steel and utilities.

The time to have been pessimistic was last fall rather than now. “In the past we have always emerged from a period of depression with industry on a better basis because of efficiency and economy made necessary when business was bad.”

Frazier Jelke & Co. notes that pattern of the current bear market shows a close resemblance to the bear market of 1920-21, which ended in August of 1921 after a flat summer.

Industrial and financial sectors of the US economy are set up for high levels of production and consumption; the current depression puts buyers in control and they are holding off for lower prices. When consumers start spending again this will be reflected early in stock prices.

More conservative market observers are still cautious because stocks broke through resistance levels so easily during the decline, advise waiting for another correction to buy.

Head of a sizable New York investment trust says the current conditions of very easy credit and poor business have always been a buying opportunity in the past. Absolutely confident that any list of good stocks will have good gains by end of 1931 and probably show a profit by end of 1930. Cautions that current market technicals don't look that good and further declines may occur first.

Leading bankers now think that many stocks are at attractive price levels; this contrasts with the past few years when they were unhappy with high price earnings ratios.

Economic news and individual company reports:

New York Fed produces its rediscount rate from 3% to a new record low of 2 1/2 percent; expected to help business; indicates easy credit for some time to come.

US government bond prices reach new highs, but other bonds don't follow, even those considered safe such as municipals and high-grade railroads.

Broker's margin loans showed a large decrease of $211 million - bullish news helping to sustain the rally in the afternoon.

The market slump has produced many highly rated stocks with dividend yields over 5%, including some high-grade rails, GM (7.2%), Chrysler (11.2%). Most blue chips remain lower, however, including GE (2.5%) and AT&T (4.3%).

Total US rail freight traffic in April 34.8 billion net ton miles, down 9% from 1929.

Texas rail commission adopts policy requiring freight rates for all competing transportation services to be at the same level, including steam railways, electric railways, and motor truck lines.

Ford is expanding this year; spending over $30 million to construct six new branch plants and upgrade existing ones.

Sears Roebuck sales for four weeks ended June 18 will be down about 6% from last year.

National Biscuit expects second-quarter earnings will be slightly down from last year. World's largest user of sugar and flour. Plans to adopt a five-day workweek except in California where law prohibits it.


“'I bought a fine Rembrandt in Belgium.' 'Really. How many horsepower?'”

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