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sharply with the rate of $7 which had been of over 3,000,000 tons in October, and by the reached in August, 1914. During March the middle of November the activity in the steel activities of the stock market increased owing plants of the country was without precedent. to business conditions and to Supreme Court de- This was due not only to the war orders, but to cisions favorable to the railroads. By one of the fact that unprecedented business encouraged these the two-cent passenger rate law of Vir- the railroads to spend large sums for cars, rails, ginia was annulled and by the other the reduc- and other equipment. The enormous export tion of freight rates on coal by North Dakota traffic at eastern ports forced the railroads to was set aside. New York City was able to float reduce free storage time from thirty to fifteen a sale of bonds at 412 per cent; copper rose to days, there being at one time 50,000 loaded cars 1512 cents per pound, an increase of more than on side tracks near New York. This congestion 2 cents; cotton rose by a similar amount to 984 was due in part to the reduction in the number cents; while the price of wheat at Chicago was of ocean carriers by the war. In December the about $1.60 per bushel. In April all minimum attention of the stock market turned somewhat limits for stock exchange transactions were re- to railroad securities, but considerable gains were moved; steel plants were occupied to 70 per cent still made in the stocks of the war order comof capacity; the price of copper rose to 21 cents panies. In spite of the fact that certain roads and the prices of wheat and cotton showed slight had gone into receiverships, the relatively favoradvances; but the striking feature of the month able condition of railway finances in general was was the outburst of speculation on the New York shown by the statistics of the Bureau of Railexchange, 21,000,000 shares being transferred. way Economics. The net revenue per mile of This outburst was due mainly to war orders line for roads comprising 228,000 miles rose which resulted in large advances in Bethlehem from $220 in January and February, to about Steel, American Locomotive, New York Air $300 per mile in each of the next three months, Brake, and the stocks of motor companies. In and to $477 per mile in September. The net inMay there was some recession in the price of come for these roads in September was 17.4 per commodities; stocks declined, in part owing to cent above the previous five-year average, and the sinking of the Lusitania, but June brought subsequent months were not less favorable. The recovery in stock prices. The decision of the increase in net revenue of railways over 1914 Supreme Court against the dissolution of the was estimated at $168,955,000. The foreign Steel Corporation brought a favorable movement trade for October totaled $477,000,000 and for in stock prices, but the resignation of Secretary November, $495,000,000. The excess of exports of State Bryan caused some reaction. The prices over imports reached the maximum of $178,857,of sterling exchange had continued to fall and 000 in October. During every month of the the importation of $40,000,000 of gold did not year there was an excess of gold imports over prevent a decline to $4.75. Copper prices con- gold exports, the maximum of $76,731,000 being tinued to advance but the price of wheat fell to in October and the total excess for the year being $1.04.
. . $429,000,000. Moreover, extra dividends on the The influences favorable to business revival stocks of copper, oil, and powder companies were during the first half year continued to operate declared. Steel prices reached the high average during the second half. Large contracts with of $39.70 per ton, a gain of $7.50 since August foreign governments for military supplies re- and of nearly one-third since 1915 and the highsulted in wild trading on the exchange in July; est average in eight years. steel plants increased their business to 87 per CROPS. Not a little of the great prosperity cent of capacity; pig iron production increased of the United States during 1915 was due to and railroad traffic rose considerably. August new records in farm production. Thus the wheat was marked by the transfer of 20,500,000 shares crop for the first time exceeded 1,000,000,000 on the New York exchange; by continued ad- bushels, the actual production being 1,002,029,vances in the prices of railroad securities, due in 000 bushels. This was an increase of 110,000,000 part to the granting by the Interstate Commerce bushels over 1914. The corn crop exceeded that Commission of freight increases to the western of the previous year by over 400,000,000 bushels, roads; the enormous crops produced a favorable reaching the enormous amount of 3,090,000,000 reaction on business in general. The decline of bushels. Oats likewise set a new maximum of sterling exchange to $4.50 was checked in Sep 1,517,478 bushels, while barley with 236,682,000 tember by the negotiation of the Anglo-French bushels was 20 per cent in excess of the 1914 loan of $500,000,000. It was during August and crop. The total value of all farm products inSeptember that stock speculation was most cluding grain, vegetables, fruits, and animal reckless, the shares of some of the companies products for the year was estimated at $10,000,profiting by war orders gaining as much as 30 or 000.000. 40 points in a day. It was during September PIG IRON PRODUCTION. One of the best indexes also that the railroads began to feel a' pressure of business conditions is the volume of pig iron of freight for export.
production. During the last four months of The fourth quarter of the year was character the year this averaged about 3,000,000 tons. ized by the continued increase in the volume of This contrasted with 1,601,000 tons in January. business and the optimism of business sentiment. The output increased steadily every month until Another outburst of speculation in war order October, the total for the year being about 29,stocks resulted in the transfer of 26,679,000 shares 796,000 tons, an amount exceeded only in 1912 in October, numerous days being marked by a and 1913, and being about 6,500,000 tons greater business of from 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 shares. than in 1914. The total for the year may be Bethlehem Steel made a phenomenal advance to compared with a total of 30,724,000 tons in 600, having opened the year at 4644, and declin 1913; 29,727,000 in 1912; and 23,649,000 in 1911. ing in December to about 460. There were simi- AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY. A notable feature of lar but less extreme advances in some other the year's industry was the great expansion in stocks. Pig iron production made a new record the automobile manufacture. It was estimated that the retail value of cars and trucks sold in totals for immediately preceding years were: 1915 aggregated $691,778,000. This included 1914, $461,526,600; 1913, $501,571,020; 1912, 842,249 passenger cars at $565,856,000; and $675,213,500; 1911, $890,210,100; 1910, $634,150,369 trucks at $125,922,000. Exports were 722,850; 1909, $1,317,291,000. The ease of the estimated at $100,000,000 or two and one-half bond flotations showed the abundance of avail. times as great as in 1914; of this sum about able money due to the revival of prosperity and two-thirds was for commercial vehicles. See especially to the enormous export trade. In AUTOMOBILES.
this connection reference should be made to the STOCK EXCHANGE. The changes in business foreign credits established during the year and sentiment were reflected in the activities of the noted below. One notable result of the year's New York Stock Exchange, though this state transactions was the increase in the number of ment must be qualified on account of an ex- stockholders of principal corporations. A sumcessive and unreasoning spirit of speculation mary for 23 railroads, 14 public utility comwhich prevailed during April and during the fall panies, and 28 industrial corporations showed months. It was this speculative fever which an increase of 25,447 in the number of stockundoubtedly made the total shares exchanged holders during the year. for the year greater than in any year since Another important result was the great ab1909. The number of shares sold by months sorption of American securities previously held were as follows: January, 5,076,210, Febru- abroad. When the war began the par value of ary, 4,383,449, March, 7,862,308, April, 21,022, American securities held abroad was estimated 930, May, 12,581,040, June, 11,004,042, July, variously from $4,000,000,000 to $6,000,000,000. 14,371,633, August, 20,432,350, September, 18, Mr. L. F. Loree, President of the Delaware and 399,286, October, 26,678,953, November, 17,634, Hudson Company, after a thorough study of 270, December, 14,647,000. Total for the year, American railway securities held abroad, con173,000,000 shares. That these figures repre- cluded that their par value was $2,223,000,000, sent an extraordinary volume of business is and their market value, July 31, 1915, was $1,shown by comparison with totals for previous 751,000,000; industrials owned abroad on that years: 1914, 47,900,568; 1913, 83,470,693; 1912, date were estimated $518,300,000 par value. 131,128,425; 1911, 127,207,258; 1910, 164,150,- His inquiry showed that $480,892,000 par value 061; 1909, 214,632,194. The speculative fever of these railway securities were sold in Amerwas also reflected in the phenomenal advances ica in five months; it was known that during of some of the stocks. The advances were due this same period $140,000,000 par value of in. almost entirely to the great volume of Euro- dustrial securities were also exchanged. On pean trade due to war orders. The stocks of this basis it was estimated that during the year these companies came to be known popularly more than $1,000,000,000 of stocks and bonds as “war brides." The following are a few in previously held abroad were bought by stances of the advances during the year shown American investors. The remarkable financial by first and last quotations of the prices of strength of the country made possible not common stocks: Anaconda, 50 to 91; Baldwin merely the repurchase of these securities, but Locomotive, 40 to 117; Bethlehem Steel, 46 also the extension of credits aggregating $1,to 459: General Motors, 82 to 500; Studebaker, 000,000,000, besides which gold imports ex36 to 167; Industrial Alcohol, 20 to 121; Cruci ceeded exports by over $425,000,000. ble Steel, 18 to 73; Continental Can, 40 to 84; SECURITIES. According to the Journal of Lacka wanna Steel, 28 to 81; Tennessee Cop Commerce the total authorized capital of all per, 32 to 63. These prices were less in all companies incorporated in the United States cases than the maxima attained in the fall. in 1915 with a capital of $100,000 amounted to Thus Baldwin Locomotive went to 154 on Octo- $2,061,000,000, an increase of over 30 per cent ber 23rd: Bethlehem Steel to 600 on October compared with 1914. For companies with a 22nd; General Motors to 559 on December 9th; capital of $1,000,000 or more incorporated in the Studebaker to 195 on October 22nd; and Lacka Eastern States this paper reported an aggregate wanna Steel to 95 on September 29th. Toward of $1,426,000,000. This amount compared with the end of the year interest attached to railroad $894,947,000 in 1914, and $1,534,000,000 in shares and the stocks of all the principal rail. 1913. roads of the country showed considerable ad- The actual issues of securities by railroads in vances with the exception of Missouri, Kansas 1915 aggregated $780,216,000. Of this $541,and Texas, Missouri Pacific, and Wabash, which 350,000 were bonds, $216,515,000 notes, and $22,were in financial difficulties.
350,000 stocks. Industrial companies issued a The bond market reflected somewhat the same total of $655,134,000, including $241,838,000 wide-spread interests in investments. The bonds; $110,918,000 notes, and $302,377.000 transactions on the New York exchange by stocks. Moreover, the Daily Bond Buyer remonths were as follows: January, $57,100,500, ported during 1915, 5181 issues of long-term February, $43,842,500, March, $63,214,500, State and municipal bonds aggregating $482,April, $110,359,500, May, $64,284,200, June, $57, 220,000, the largest amount of such securities 957,000, July, $55,535,500, August, $72,253,000, ever issued in one year. September, $80,741,000, October, $105,191,500, BANK CLEARINGS. The bank clearings for 137 November, $130,088,500, and December, $120, cities reached the enormous sum of $186,079,110,000. Total for the year, $956,500,000 par 731,000, an amount never before equaled, and value. While the advances in bond prices were exceeding the previous maximum in 1912 by not phenomenal yet there was a general up- 7.8 percent. During the first quarter the ward movement for the bonds of the govern- clearings aggregated $38,915,000,000; second ment, of railroads, and of industrial companies, quarter, $43,427,000,000; third quarter, $44,271,ranging from 1 per cent to 6 per cent. The 000,000; fourth quarter, $59,466,000,000. For total transactions for the year were exceeded in the month of December the total was $20,167,1909, but not in any subsequent year. The 000,000, or .5 per cent more than in October or November, in either of which the clearings ex of 1914 by 53.2 per cent. See also BUILDING ceeded those of any previous month in Amer- OPERATIONS. ican history. By geographical divisions the AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION. This clearings for the year were as follows: New organization was incorporated in New York England, $8,838,236,000; Middle, $23,939,698,- about December 1, under the direction of the 000; Western, $7,189,399,000; Northwestern, National City Bank. It was capitalized at $50,$21,678,344,000; Southwestern, $9,926,078,000; 000,000. Its purpose was to develop American Southern, $6,865,044,000, and Far-Western, $6, trade with foreign countries, promote the in642,930,000. At principal centres the clearings vestment of American capital in industrial projwere: Boston, $8,256,935,000; New York, $110, ects in foreign lands, and develop markets 204,392,000; Philadelphia, $8,863,633,000; Pitts- abroad for American goods. The charter of the burgh, $2,666,312,000; Chicago, $16,198,985,000; company empowered it to deal in securities, acSt. Louis, $4,153,535,000; Kansas City, $3,835,- quire concessions, make explorations, develop 061,000; Baltimore, $1,833,648,000; San Fran- mines, smelt ores, build houses and factories, cisco, $2,693,688,000; Los Angeles, $1,048,128, construct telephone and telegraph lines, wharves, 000.
and reservoirs, and indeed to do whatever was Canada. Bank clearings in Canada were necessary in carrying on legitimate business. slightly less than in 1914, amounting to $7,- Among its directors were Frank A. Vanderlip, 653,000,000, a decrease of 4 per cent from 1914. president of the National City Bank; Otto H. Slightly more than one-third of all clearings Kahn, of Kuhn, Loeb and Company; J. Ogden Arwere at Montreal, nearly one-fourth at Toronto, mour of Chicago; James J. Hill, of the Great and one-fifth at Winnipeg.
Northern Company; William E. Corey, of the FAILURES. In spite of the many indications Midvale Steel Company; and many other wellof business prosperity, the number of commer known financiers and industrial promoters. cial failures in 1915 exceeded those of any previ. This corporation was formed under the leadous year. R. G. Dun & Co. reported 22,156 ership of the National City Bank which was suspensions in 1915, with aggregate indebted- carrying out a policy of establishing branches ness of $302,286,000; similar figures for 1914 in principal South American cities, and which were 18,280 and $357,908,000. Bradstreet's re- had acquired control of the International Bankported 19,032 failures with $283,432,000 liabili- ing Corporation with its 16 banks in China, ties, these figures being respectively 13.4 per Japan, India, the Philippines, Panama, and elsecent higher and 20.7 per cent lower than in where. 1914. The liabilities were, moreover, 26 per FOREIGN CREDITS. One of the most unique cent less than in 1907 or 1893, but the number and remarkable features of the financial history of failures had never been equaled. The busi- of the year was numerous and large foreign ness mortality was very high, but as conditions loans or credits floated in this country. It was improved in various lines, failures became fewer estimated that their total exceeded $1,000,000,In the fourth quarter the number was 37 per 000, and that about 80 per cent of the proceeds cent less and the liabilities 50 per cent less than were expended in this country for war supplies in the first quarter.
of all kinds. The Canadian government secured Likewise railway receiverships of the year a 5 per cent loan amounting to $45,000,000, were unusually numerous, the mileage under re- while 8 Canadian Provinces and 10 Canadian ceiverships being the greatest in nearly 20 cities borrowed a total of $102,000,000. Variyears. The total mileage was 39,905; and the ous Latin-American countries secured a total par value of bonds represented $1,678,129,000, of $50,000,000, of which Argentina secured $15,and of stocks, $707,603,000. The most impor: 000,000 on notes and $31,000,000 on treasury tant lines were the Chicago, Rock Island, and bonds. Small loans or credits to various EuroPacific; the Missouri Pacific; the St. Louis and pean countries were as follows: Switzerland, San Francisco; the Missouri, Kansas, and $15,000,000; Sweden, $5,000,000; Norway, $8,Texas; the Wabash; the Texas Pacific; and the 000,000; Greece, $7,000,000. German treasury Père Marquette. It was alleged that one fac. notes to the amount of $10,000,000 were sold in tor in many cases was the restrictive legisla, the United States. Russia, which placed orders tion of Southwestern States, notably Oklahoma for war supplies amounting to $70,000,000 in and Texas.
the single month of October, and had previously Canada. Failures in Canada reached the placed orders estimated as equally great, senumber of 2621, a decrease of 9.1 per cent from cured one loan of $32,000,000, and late in De1914, but exceeding the number in any previous cember was negotiating a second loan of $60,year. The liabilities aggregated $31,989,000, an 000,000 to run for 90 days, but renewable up increase of 4.2 per cent over 1914, and greatly to 18 months. According to announcement this exceeding any other year.
new loan would bear 5 per cent and laddiBUILDING. According to Bradstreet's the tional per cent for each 90 days' extension. building operations in 155 American cities ag- Italy secured $25,000,000 on one year 6 per gregated over $806,000,000 in 1915. This was cent notes convertible at maturity into 6 per an increase of 4.5 per cent over the total for cent one year bonds; these latter were in turn 1914. Nevertheless, during the first seven exchangeable for 10 year 542 per cent bonds. months, the building expenditures were less in In addition to the Anglo-French loan noted beeach month than in the corresponding month low, France secured $75,000,000 on notes, bonds, of 1914, except in May, when there was an in- and collateral; and London banks $50,000,000 crease of .3 per cent. During the last five for six months. At the close of the year plans months there was an increase each month over were under way also for additional credits for 1914. While the figures for the first nine both France and Great Britain, to be based on months showed a decrease of 5 per cent from American securities mobilized by the bank of those of 1914, the last quarter of 1915 showed England and the bank of France. expenditures exceeding those of the last quarter ANGLO-FRENCH LOAN. The most notable for
Photograph by Paul Thompson
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Great Britian