Snapshot of news and events for today
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 99.48 points
at 12,752.21, its lowest close since April 1.
- The dollar was trading around 108.93 yen against the yen, having
fallen back from a seven-month high of 110.67 yen hit last week.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a steep two-day losing
streak, ending 68.88 points higher, up 0.6 percent, at 11,417.43, down
14 percent on the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended 0.2%
higher at 2,389.08, down 9.9 percent on the year.
- The two-year note's yield fell to 2.254 percent,
from 2.321 percent Tuesday, extending its winning streak since last
Thursday. It rose in price by 4/32 point, or $1.25 per $1,000 face value,
to 100 30/32.
- The dollar rose against the yen, euro, and British pound. The
U.S. Dollar Index gained 0.2 percent.
| Ag futures
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures gapped higher on the open, filled the gap, but
then returned to near session highs to close 9 3/4 to 11 cents higher.
- Soybeans: Futures ended the day about where they began it,
finishing 19 1/2 to 26 3/4 cents higher. Meal and soyoil found spillover
- Wheat: Futures opened slightly higher, but extended gains and
posted a high-range close. Chicago wheat closed 28 to 29 3/4 cents higher,
with Kansas City up 23 to 28 cents and Minneapolis up 5 to 25 cents,
but most contracts were at least 20 cents higher.
- Cotton: Futures closed slightly to sharply higher, finding
spillover support from neighboring pits.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures gapped sharply lower on the open,
but trimmed losses amid short-covering, finishing mixed. October hogs
closed 15 lower, with December up 15 cents and further-deferred futures
up 90 cents to $1.25.
- Live Cattle: Cattle futures opened lower, but benefited from
short-covering support in mid-morning trade and closed steady to 70
cents higher. Feeder futures closed 37 to 80 cents higher, with upside
potential limited to short-covering due to strength in the corn market.
reports affecting agriculture
to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for
- McCain Closes Gap on Obama In Poll as Conventions Loom
McCain has all but closed the gap with Obama. A WSJ/NBC News poll found
the race in a statistical dead heat, with 45% favoring Obama and 42%
for McCain. The poll underscores how international crises and negative
ads have helped McCain, although concern among voters about his age
- U.S., Iraq Are Said to Have Set Withdrawal Timetable
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators reached agreement on a security deal that
calls for American military forces to leave Iraq's cities by next summer
as a prelude to a full withdrawal of combat troops from the country
- Iran Buys Wheat From U.S. For First Time in 27 Years
Poor Harvest Spurs
Tehran's Rare Move; Limited Options Iran this summer resumed buying
U.S. wheat after a 27-year hiatus, a sign of the limited options for
importers seeking large quantities of high-quality grain.
- Heating-Oil Users Can Brace For Expensive Winter
Heating-oil prices have dropped to their lowest levels in months, but
there are signs that tight supplies could keep winter heating bills
high even if crude prices continue to tumble. Government data released
Wednesday showed the nation's heating-oil supplies are down 9.8% compared
with this time last year. In New England, where many houses are warmed
with heating oil during the winter, the fall in inventories has reached
- Gas Prices Fuel New Views By Democrats on Offshore Drilling
As gasoline prices have become a focal point for voters' economic concerns,
Democratic candidates across the country are rewriting the party line
on the issue.
- Voters Want Everything on Energy Voters are crying
out for more solar and wind energy -- but that doesn't mean they are
opposed to drilling for more oil at the same time, according to a
Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll.
- Don't Be Cornfused About Ethanol, Subsidies, Prices Three
letters to the editor on the topic.
- Fate of Fannie and Freddie Hinges On $225 Billion
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need to refinance $225 billion of debt by
the end of September. Investor interest may hinge on the details of
any potential government bailout.
- Why to Count Chickens Before They Hatch A decline
in the number of chickens coming into production may lead to higher
prices, a welcome development for poultry producers, but not so good
for consumers and restaurant chains.
- Commodities Inspire Bold Bets, Hedges The options
market offers an arena for both reckless betting and scrupulous hedging,
and nowhere more so than in the volatile commodities sector.
- CBOE, Board of Trade Reach Deal The Chicago Board
Options Exchange, or CBOE, reached a deal that paves the way for a long-anticipated
sale or stock-market flotation.
New York Times (registration to site required)
Rural Swath of Big State Tests Obama Once solidly Democratic,
western Pennsylvania has become an uncertain political terrain and a
target for John McCain.
Prescriptions for Fannie and Freddie As policy makers work
to ease the strain on the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
a consensus is emerging that the two companies will have to look substantially
different in the long term.
Voters in Poll Want Priority to Be Economy, Their Top Issue
Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are heading into their conventions
neck and neck in the presidential race, with voters focused overwhelmingly
on economic issues but convinced that the candidates are not paying
enough attention to their priorities, according to the latest New
York Times/CBS News poll.
Few Speculators Dominate Vast Market for Oil Trading Regulators
had long classified a private Swiss energy conglomerate called Vitol
as a trader that primarily helped industrial firms that needed oil to
run their businesses.
Bloomberg Calls for Alternative Energy Mayor Urges
Study of Wind, Solar Power
Outlining his vision for a dramatic reconfiguration of urban energy
sources, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says he is exploring potential for
installing turbines and other alternative energy generators throughout
New York City, in the water and on bridges and skyscrapers.
U.S. and Poland Seal Missile Pact Deal on Defense System
Signed Despite Russian Warnings The United States and Poland signed
an agreement here Wednesday to place parts of a U.S. missile defense
system on Polish territory, finalizing a long-negotiated deal in the
face of Russian warnings that Poland would become a potential target
Commodity Prices Retreat Declines for Oil, Food That
Help Consumers Could Disrupt Strong Run for U.S. Exports Financial
markets are frazzled, and the jobs situation is getting worse. But there
is a surprising bit of good news for the economy in the months ahead.
Investor Jitters Deflate Fannie, Freddie Shares Drop
to 20-Year Low Follows Speculation About a Rescue Shares of Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac tumbled more than 20 percent yesterday, hitting
their lowest levels in nearly two decades, as investors fled out of
fear that a government initiative to save the ailing mortgage giants
could render their stock worthless.
Energy Firms Bid on Gulf Tracts Nearly $500 Million
Spent to Explore Recently Opened Waters Energy companies bid hundreds
of millions of dollars yesterday to explore for oil and natural gas
beneath 1.8 million acres in the western Gulf of Mexico, while they
look forward to the possibility of future drilling in federal waters
now off limits.
- Researchers try veggie oil to clean up toxic spill (Via
Associated Press) Researchers at the nation's most contaminated
nuclear site last year injected 5,000 gallons of molasses into the soil
to try to clean up toxic groundwater near the Pacific Northwest's largest
waterway. This week, they're trying vegetable oil.
with, not at
Jay Leno: “Since Congress went on recess, oil
prices have dropped to $118 a barrel. That’s, like, a $30 drop from
the record high. You know, maybe Congress should take more vacations,
Jay Leno: “Actually, analysts say a weak economy
is causing less energy use, resulting in falling oil prices. Yeah. Basically,
the worse the economy, the lower the oil prices, which means if Bush could
serve one more term, oil would be free.”
Jay Leno: “Well, Barack Obama and John McCain
have both switched their positions on offshore oil drilling. They both
used to be against it, but now they say they are for it under the right
circumstances, like if it helps them get elected.”
Jay Leno: “The International Olympic Committee
is saying that the yellow-gray haze over Beijing is not pollution, it
is only mist. … Okay, it’s lead mist, but still.”
Jay Leno: “Have you seen China’s slogan
for the Olympics? Here it is. “One world, one dream.’ But
see the asterisk? Go in close. What does it say? ‘Restrictions apply,
Tibet not included.’”
Jay Leno: “And because of this entire Brett Favre
situation,” which has “turned out to be such a public relations
disaster, the Green Bay Packers have hired President Bush’s former
spokesman Ari Fleischer. … So you know what the Packers are going
to do now? Invade Iraq.”
David Letterman: “Well, the big debates are coming
up.” Barack Obama “wants to debate about foreign policy,”
while “John McCain wants to debate about the big band era.”
David Letterman: “You know, I like John McCain.
He looks like the guy that hangs out at the driving range,” always
“giving you unwanted tips. … ‘You’re topping the
ball. You’re top -- give me the club. You’re topping the damn
Conan O’Brien: “Of course, Barack Obama”
is “still continuing to dominate media coverage. ‘The New
York Times’ just did a big piece” in which they “say
that Barack Obama has been successful in politics because he’s a
black man who doesn’t make white people feel threatened,”
which “explains Obama’s Secret Service code name, ‘Al