August 26, 2009

Wednesday, August 27, 1930: Dow 235.47 +3.95 (1.7%)

Assorted historical stuff:

Editorial decrying the 1930 election campaign being waged using the new mass medium of radio: “A practically new kind of artillery is used, known as the radio which is charged with political hot air and fired, not at the opposing side but at the people ... the contestants count on keeping up the bombardment until the November elections by which time the people will be gassed into submission to one side or the other.” Cause of current depression is that “this, the richest nation on earth, with millions of idle money is not giving employment to a large consuming class,” but neither side in the campaign is offering constructive solutions.

Entertainment plans announced for American Bankers' Assoc. convention in Cleveland. Events include a revue entitled Next to Nothing, a “presentation of women's fashions in a musical comedy setting ... while planned to be of interest to the wives of the delegates, has been designed with dramatic plot to interest the delegates themselves as well.” Also planned are “boxing matches and ring entertainments, interspersed with music,” indoor polo games, golf, and a grand ball.

Lady Simon cites League of Nations and Anti-Slavery Society estimate that at least 5M slaves remain in the world.

Spanish govt. shakes up cabinet, installs new Fin. Min. J. Wals in “economic dictatorship” to stabilize currency. Peseta declines near record low.

Television program transmitted from Jersey City to New York, about 6 miles; longest distance transmission so far in US. D. Sarnoff of Radio Corp. says active use in the average home still some years away.

Airplane successfully lowered with huge parachute; only damage was bent propeller.

Changes in women's dress styles have enabled Princeton to reduce width of stadium seats from 19 inches to 17.5, allowing 6,000 more seats in stadium.

Market commentary:

Bulls encouraged by good steel and rail freight news; buying spread throughout the market, finishing strong in final hour. Particularly strong were US Steel (passed through recent resistance levels to over 170), American Can, Standard Gas, major rails, banks and trusts, and many trading favorites including Air Reduction. Bond market substantially more active; Dow 40 bond avg. up to new 1930 high of 97.10; preferreds strong; foreign govts. firm, US slightly off.

Babson statistical organization makes first change in bearish stance taken before last fall's crash; advises clients to use 20% of liquid funds to buy selected stocks including US Steel, GE, du Pont, National Dairy, General Foods, Standard Oil NJ.

Lt. Gov. H. Lehman says personal opinion as business man is that decreasing wages would prolong depression; says prosperity based on public buying power.

Strength in bond market has recently spread to lower grade bonds; taken as second phase in advance which should spread to preferred, then common stocks.

Economists say unemployment is biggest factor keeping business down and delaying recovery; point to loss of 1.6M factory jobs since last September.

Conservative observers now anticipate somewhat higher prices in advance of seasonal business upturn, but advise buying gradually on reactions rather than chasing stocks up; also advise clients to stay away from Vanadium, as it has been a favorite target for manipulation on both the long and short side.

Commercial credit continues down slightly; this may not be significant, however, since corresponding weeks in previous years have also been down. Banks have also been reducing loans on securities, though they remain high. Banks have been pouring surplus funds into investments, now at highest level on record.

Economic news and individual company reports:

Dow Jones reports first large increase in steel production in several months; US Steel ingot production in week ended Monday was at 66% vs. 62% previous week; industry average was 58% vs. 54.5%.

Rail freight loadings in week ended Aug. 16 were 922,823 cars, up 18,666 over previous week but down 179,744 or 16.3% from 1929.

First 37 rails report July net down 32.6% from 1929, but up 13.9% over June.

July cigarette production of 11.859B was new record high, up 10.6% from 1929; July production has increased a similar percentage for previous 3 years. First 7 months production of 71.284B is also a record. Cigars declined, although 5-cent cigars increased; snuff increased.

Companies reporting decent earnings: Fox Film, Columbia Pictures, National Power & Light, American Ice, Lehigh Valley (rail, helped by expense cuts).

Nine of Canada's principal breweries to merge, forming the Brewing Corp. of Canada.

Movie review:

Abraham Lincoln, directed by D.W. Griffith. “An almost unbelievable number of historical characters are brought to life in almost photographic likenesses,” as are the settings of battles and the Lincoln-Douglass debate. Walter Huston impressive as Lincoln; “The changes wrought by time and experience in the face of Lincoln are admirably achieved; the changes in his character are as beautifully portrayed by Mr. Huston's acting.” Other characters faithfully reproduced include cigar-smoking Grant also “indulging freely in whisky”, Lee, Sheridan, Douglas, and John Wilkes Booth. [Note: this film is in the public domain and viewable on youtube, or for download here (can't vouch for the quality), or on DVD at Amazon.]

+ The Boring Stuff:

Editorial: The recent revolution in Peru is of concern to US investors considered they have about $200M of loans and other investments there, but the new Peruvian govt. doesn't seem threatening to US investments. US experience with Mexican oil nationalization doesn't inspire much confidence in US ability to protect capital invested abroad, but “Mexico's subsequent plight has been an object lesson” against that policy. State Dept. says deposed Peruvian Pres. Legula was friend of the US, but sees no current reason for US investors in Peru to worry; “At the same time, it was said this country would follow its traditional policy of protecting American property if events made that necessary.” Main US investments are bonds, minerals, and oil.

Commodities mixed: Grains down with wheat weaker than corn. Cotton up sharply on short-covering. Copper traded down to 10 3/4 cents.

Market sentiment said more optimistic based on expected seasonal upturn in business. Some public and foreign inquiries on stocks reported, though mood is anxious with regard to price movements.

Union Trust of Cleveland reports improved business sentiment across country, general opinion that trade has passed bottom. Cites current general level of production below consumption. Says wages have declined somewhat, as has cost of living; predicts commodity prices may stay low for some time; says process of adjustment of price structure is difficult, but in the long run doesn't necessarily mean low profits if business adjusts operations properly.

L. Wakefield, Pres. First National Bank, defends banking groups against charges they are driving independent country banks out of business.

Crude oil production in week ended Aug. 23 was 2.471M barrels/day, up 6,950 from previous week but down 495,850 from 1929; gasoline stocks at refiners were down 1.410M in week to 39.842M.

Canadian steel ingot and castings production in July was 68,424 tons vs. 95,321 in June and 129,827 in July 1929.

Sugar industry conference meets in NY to deal with “demoralized” industry; Cuba offers some export cuts in exchange for production restrictions by others.

Great Atlantic & Pacific now operates 15,000 about stores; sales volume has almost doubled over past 4 years to $1.1B, or a quarter of total US chain store business. Company has expanded sales by adding food departments, and by sharply cutting prices on some commodities including coffee.

I. Nelson's (300 share stockholder) suit to force Warner Bros. into receivership dismissed in Delaware Chancery Court.

Company reports since July 1: 160 companies reported increased earnings vs. 1929 and 390 decreased; 734 dividends unchanged, 4 increased, 49 cut.

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