June 11, 2009

Thursday, June 12, 1930: Dow 249.08 -8.21 (3.2%)

Assorted historical stuff:

Thomas Edison on big government and big business: calls the US government the most inefficient big business in operation; favors high wages; criticizes mergers where “the vast size of the business tends to mismanagement;” urges Hoover to seek reelection.

Governor Roosevelt warned that municipal governments of New York are increasing debt two to three times as fast as the state – this will lead to unsound levels of debt or an unsustainable tax burden.

Lower Manhattan development is going great guns. “In the downtown financial district a dozen or more skyscrapers are in the process of construction, several have been recently completed, and numerous others are contemplated.” Major projects in the Wall Street area include the Irving Trust Company's 50-story tower at 1 Wall Street, the Bank of Manhattan's 70-story tower at 40 Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange Annex, and the Bank of America building. Several large parcels have been assembled for future development including a full block containing 14 old buildings at Wall and Pearl Street, believed to be the first full block on Wall Street ever owned by an individual.

Ford Motor Company together with police mount a successful crackdown on alcohol consumption in Dearborn, leaving it “perhaps the driest industrial community of its size in the country.”

Western Union introduces night cable letter service to France – rates are 6 cents/word with a 25 word minimum. Slightly higher to Algeria and Tunis.

Most frequent air service in the United States is between Cleveland and Detroit (10 roundtrips a day).

The director of a large home furnishings business in Ohio suggests that good times can be restored by a “'prosperity sale' in which prices on everything are reduced by 15%”.

Market commentary:

Stocks “highly irregular and nervous.” US steel sank to a new 1930 low early in the final hour event but rallied spectacularly in the last few minutes when a bid for 50,000 shares appeared. Many other stocks moved in sympathy with Steel but did not fully recover their losses. Many large stocks are off substantially from their yearly highs, including U.S. Steel (37 points), Woolworth (13 points), Westinghouse Electric (45), and General Electric (21).

Much of the selling is blamed on the big professional traders going short on signs of weakness.

The market decline is attributed to the tariff bill and poor business. But the tariff bill will be disposed of in a week or so and “business is certain to get better, although it may recede a little farther before the trend changes.”

Easy money should help stocks. Brokers are reporting buying by corporations and financiers with surplus cash. Most income is now generated from stocks and bonds; last year most was generated from money markets.

An increasing number of executives are expressing the opinion that the worst has been seen and that business is now bumping along the bottom ...”

Economic news and individual company reports:

The number of General Motors common shareholders has increased from 82,415 in February of 1929 to 218,413 in January of 1930. Most of this increase was in the fourth quarter of 1929, during and after the market crash. Most of the new shareholders owned between one and 20 shares each. However, General Motors is effectively controlled by the 10 largest holders with a total of almost 20 million shares.

American Ice expects May profits to be up at least 10% over 1929.

Gulf Steel first-quarter net income is down, said second-quarter may show a loss; may need to cut dividend if business is not improved by August.

Great Atlantic and Pacific (food stores) reports May sales $104.6M, up 7.5% over May 1929.

Studebaker reports May sales best of any month since September 1929. Inventory as of June 1 is 10,911 cars compared to 17,529 last year.


Artists and Models: “The showgirls are not featured in the program of Artists and Models, but they are featured in fact ... they wear something at the waist and in more than one scene the rest is just a gesture in the form of gauze ... they parade as bridesmaids in costumes that would greatly enliven the usual real wedding ceremony or as widows who are so sad that they wear nothing to speak of, but their weeds and a pale blue handkerchief trailing from the left wrist.”

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