December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 11, 1930: Dow 173.98 -2.52 (1.4%)

Assorted historical stuff:

[Strangely reversed dept.] Washington report: Pres. Hoover's “playing politics” speech denounced by Sen. Harrison (D., Miss.), who said the President himself was playing politics and misrepresenting Democratic leaders. Sen. Glass criticized effort to keep drought relief to $25M, pointing to recommendation of food administrator Hoover in 1919 for $100M of aid to feed the starving in Russia. Sen Heflin joined the attack, protesting “the spirit of economy which has seized certain men in high places.”

[Strangely familiar dept.] Preparatory Disarmament Commission at Geneva finishes outline of treaty for world arms limitation; conference expected early in 1932 to work out final details. Editorial: After four years of work, the Commission frankly reported on results, warts and all. It's unfortunate “escape” clauses were included in the outline draft as in the London Naval Treaty, as well as “interminable foot-note reservations.” Much will depend on the League Council meeting Jan., where the report will be taken up; hopefully at this time action will be taken to resume international financing, and calm political uneasiness.

Recent recurring rumors of various international debt relief plans denied by officials.

Agriculture Sec. Hyde says main farm problem is overproduction, says tariff protection fundamental to balancing crops against market demand; disagrees with Prof. G. Warren of Cornell who says main cause is monetary. J. McDonald, Texas Agriculture Commissioner-elect: “the most imperative problem confronting the American people is the immediate enactment of legislation to regulate production of its major crops so that the supply may conform to consumption.”

Dr. C. Herty calls for “a reforested South studded with paper mills for the production of white paper and newsprint.”

NY City and transit co. reps. consider formation of city-controlled private operating co. to unify independent rapid transit systems.

[Currently 3 verified WWI veterans survive, aged 108-109, all from the Allied side.] Death of Rep. Stedman, last Civil War veteran in Congress, has started speculation on how long the last veteran of the World War would survive. Last soldier in the Revolutionary War died 86 years after its end; last one in the War of 1812 died 91 years later. Based on this pattern, last soldier in the Civil War would die between 1951 - 1956, and last soldier in the World War would die between 2004 - 2009.

Air mail service between Winnipeg and Fargo or Grand Forks likely soon; this will be last link in air mail service running from Aklavik on the Arctic coast to South America; also would ultimately bring Winnipeg within 5 1/2 days flying time of London via the proposed transatlantic airmail route.

In 1890, the most popular form of street railway was the horse-drawn one, with 6,094 miles; electric had 1,066 miles and steam 563. The “inclined plane” railways, which “never did get a real start,” had 11 miles. [Apparently the return trip was a real pain.]

The Florida Special, now an institution in its 44th year, has become one of the world's finest tourist trains. It leaves Penn. Station at 10:20 PM daily, taking a sea-level route to the South. The fruits and vegetables served on board are grown in Florida.

Market commentary:

Market wrap: Stocks steady early; weakness developed in rails and spread across the list after US Steel unfilled orders were announced at noon; many new yearly lows; vigorous rally developed just before close. Bond market volume low; US govts. steady to slightly lower; foreign govts. moderately lower; corp. weak with many new lows; selling intensified near close. Commodities generally weak; cotton at new season lows; copper reduced to 11 cents by large producers.

Dow Jones average of 40 leading domestic corp. bonds was 93.73, down .42 and close to yearly low of 93.69 reached in Jan.

Bank stocks only fractionally lower on the day.

US Steel received powerful support just above year's low at 138, rebounded to 141.

Market sentiment unsettled by decline in face of favorable news from US Steel and NY Central (declared normal dividend). Observers advise “remaining on the side lines until the market indicated a tendency to move ahead again.”

Broad Street Gossip: Conversations with several “Old Timer” traders with 25 to 50 years market experience finds all are now buying standard stocks that they believe are “selling below intrinsic worth.” Don't expect a quick killing, but are positive that they will make big profits in the long-term. As one Old Timer put it, “buying stocks at present levels is an opportunity that comes but once in every five years.”

Market students believe some tax loss selling may extend into next year to offset 1931 incomes.

Middle West Utilities Nov. survey of crop and industrial conditions in territories it serves: Slight improvement in some sections although general conditions still far below normal; state holding up the best is Maine.

C. Chester, General Foods pres., notes general feeling commodity prices have bottomed; sees many cos. starting to buy raw materials in large quantities.

H. Scandrett, Chicago, Milwaukee RR pres., not expecting sudden turnaround, but sees turn for the better in spring 1931, and gradual improvement from then on.

C. Meyer, Standard Oil of NY pres.: “oil industry is progressing toward a definitely improved and possible condition ... cooperation and patience shown the industry during its present trying time” will pay off. Real progress has been made over the past few years. US is now crux of the oil conservation movement, “but we must not overlook the remainder of the world, which in time will assume a far more important place in the oil industry.” World cooperation is necessary for full success of conservation, but “Russia is about the only uncertain factor, and undoubtedly a solution will be found for this problem.”

Economic news and individual company reports:

US Steel unfilled orders up 157,873 tons in Nov. to 3.640M tons, higher than expected and largest Nov. increase since 1925; industry opinion more optimistic due to gain in forward demand and inquiries. However, scrap prices and current production continued weak; US Steel ingot production for week ended last Monday was at 43% vs. 45% prev. week and 65% in 1929; independents were at 34%, vs. 35% and 62%; industry total was 37%, vs. 39% and 63.5%.

Bonds, notes, and stock offered by domestic and foreign corps. in Nov. were $156.4M vs. $208.0M in Oct. and $390.6M in Nov. 1929; lowest total since Sept. 1923.

Market value of all NYSE traded securities on Dec. 1 was $53.312B, down $1.714B from Nov. 1; brokers' loan ratio was 4.06%, down .59%.

Car companies reportedly have cut costs to greatly reduce production volume needed for profitability; in some cases minimum volumes have been cut 30% or more. Industry seen positioned to profit quickly on any rise in production.

European report: German unemployed Nov. 30 were 3.762M vs. 3.253M on Oct. 31; increase was seasonal. British registered unemployed Dec. 1 were 2.306M vs. 2.286M Nov. 24 and 1.303M in 1929. British exports of gold continue; recent French withdrawals attributed to provincial banks in Bordeaux, where four brokerage houses failed. Political unrest in Spain continues; 48 hour general strike declared in Valencia.

Standard Oil NJ reduces price of diesel fuel 15 cents/barrel to $1.85 - $2.05.

Companies reporting decent earnings: Bangor & Aroostook RR (against industry trend, benefitted from large 1929 and 1930 Maine potato crops), Equitable Office Bldg.

Gleaner Combine Harvester omits $.50 quarterly dividend; as recently as Oct. 6, chairman had predicted a dividend increase if earnings held up. Stock now about 8, earnings for year ended Aug. 31 were $3.65/share.

RCA Victor denies inventory problem, says production is adjusted weekly according to sales reports.


Igdenbu, or The Siberian Hunter - produced by Vostokkino in Russia, with native Siberian actors. Title character represents skepticism of youth, contrasted with superstitions of the aged, personified by tribe Shaman. When rain threatens salmon supply, Shaman begins incantations but Igdenbu goes to city for help; while away, his wife is seized by a trader who had been promised the salmon; she is soon rescued by Soviet officials and put in an institution for homeless girls; Igdenbu finds her there and takes her back to the tribe on the steamer bringing aid from the govt. Numerous intimate glimpses of animals seeking food and shelter from winter cold; fortitude of the tribe while enduring starvation before Igdenbu's return is portrayed in striking pantomime.


“Judge - You have been acquitted of the crime of bigamy and are quite free to go home. Prisoner - To which one, your honor?”

Cool stuff on Youtube dept.:

OK, many of you probably think Tiny Tim made this song famous, but here's the performance that first made “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” a hit, from the 1929 Technicolor musical Gold Diggers of Broadway.

Play "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" on Youtube

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