What Traders are Talking About:
* Pro Farmer Crop estimates. After sampling fields in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota last week, we pegged the U.S. corn crop at 12.484 billion bu. with the national average yield at 147.9 bu. per acre and the soybean crop at 3.083 billion bu, with the yield at 41.8 bu. per acre. For corn, we put a +/- 1% on the estimate for a range of 12.36 billion bu. (146.45 bu. per acre yield) to 12.61 billion bu. (149.4 bu. per acre yield). For soybeans, we put a +/- 2% on the estimate for a range of 3.02 billion bu. (40.96 bu. per acre yield) to 3.14 billion bu. (42.64 billion bu. yield). Much of the corn, especially east of the Mississippi River has been pushed hard by heat and moisture stress. As a result, the challenge will be for the crop to hold onto the existing yield potential and there's only a small portion of the crop that has a chance to build yields late in the season. For soybeans, there's still a chance to build yields if there are timely late-season rains as we found very little disease or insect pressure.
The long and short of it: Based on what we saw first-hand, USDA will lower its corn crop estimate from August. But the soybean crop estimate could rise if late-season conditions are favorable.
* Irene slams East Coast. Hurricane Irene killed 20 people and left an estimated 5 million without power. New York City was relatively spared, however, and the three major U.S. stock exchanges plan to open on time this morning. Transportation may be difficult for some on Wall Street, but it will be business as usual.
The long and short of it: Irene's devastation can't be minimized, but the impact on the financial center of the free world was spared.
* Bernanke fails to announce QE3. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to announce the third round of quantitative easing as some hoped at Friday's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But Bernanke didn't completely shut the door on the idea, either. In fact, he said the Fed will extend its September Federal Open Market Committee meeting by one day to further discuss the economic situation. That has some believing there will be action of some sort next month.
The long and short of it: Bernanke raised more questions than he provided answers. But many investors believe some sort of attempt at an economic boost is coming from the Fed soon.
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