Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 134.87 points, or 1.8 percent, to 7,704.15.
- The dollar was at 98.07 yen from 97.91 yen late Friday.
Friday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.92, or 0.8 percent, to 7,223.98 -- up 9 percent for the week and only its fourth weekly gain since October. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 5.40 points, or 0.4 percent, to end at 1431.50. -- up 11 percent for the week.
- The 10-year Treasury note was flat, yielding 2.888 percent. The two-year note rose 4/32 to yield 0.972 percent.
- The dollar was at 98.03 yen, up from 97.62 yen while the euro was at $1.2915, little changed from $1.2927 late Thursday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures were highly choppy Friday, but finished slightly higher in most contracts.
- Soybeans: Futures were another choppy week of price action, with futures ending weaker on Informa Economics acreage estimates.
- Wheat: Futures ended today under pressure amid a lack of fresh fundamental news.
- Cotton: Futures closed steady to slightly lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures ended the week on a positive note and futures posted slight gains for the week.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures finished higher in most contracts Friday and posted slight gains for the week.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- U.S. to Toughen Finance Rules The Obama administration is poised to tighten U.S. finance rules, including giving the Fed more power to assess risks across the economy, and they reflect some of what Fed Chairman Bernanke and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) have suggested.
Geithner Gets G-20 Earful About Need to Speed Reform
Some Steelmakers Jump the Gun in Response to Stimulus
- Everyone Hates Ethanol. Commentary item. The paper labels ethanol "one of the most shameless energy rackets" and criticizes the push to increase the blend percentage. The push to increase that blend percentage has also seen some unlikely forces band together to try and head off the effort.
- AIG Faces Growing Wrath Over Payouts AIG said that roughly two-thirds of the $173.3 billion in federal aid it received has gone out to banks and municipalities in the U.S. and abroad, and the firm is also catching flak for paying out some $450 million in bonuses in a unit of the company that lost $40.5 billion last year.
- Ambitious Agenda Has Obama Appointees Stretched Thin Despite having more than twice the number of appointees in place compared to the last two administrations, those in the Obama administration are finding themselves stretched thin due to the heavy agenda undertaken. The White House said the administration had by the end of February inserted 512 staffers scattered throughout government, compared with 288 for the Bush administration and 286 under President Bill Clinton.
- OPEC Holds Oil Output Steady Members Balance Risk to Budgets Against Potential for Worsening Economy. The cartel opted to keep output unchanged and urged its members to meet the reductions they have already called for -- 4.2 million barrels per day less production based on cuts announced since September 2008. Compliance for those reductions, however, stands at around 79% -- members still must reduce output by around 800,000 barrels a day to meet their quotas.
Saudi Spending Climbs Despite Wide Slowdown
Unwanted Refineries Go Begging
- Washington Starts Another Trade War. Opinion item. The writer notes the U.S. actions to continue to bar Mexican trucks from the U.S. despite agreeing to via NAFTA.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- AIG Lists the Banks to Which It Paid Rescue Funds The firm listed off some 80 recipients of funds that the company received as part of its federal bailout and those include foreign banks, U.S. states and financial companies.
- Bracing for a Bailout Backlash The Obama administration is concerned that public backlash against the bailout of firms like AIG has them concerned that they could lose support for the remainder of their agenda, especially any additional bailout efforts.
- OPEC Opts for No Shift in Output. While OPEC countries would like to see oil prices in the $50 to $60 per barrel range, they opted not to cut output at a weekend meeting and instead urged countries to live up to the reductions that have been announced to date.
- Government Combs Through GM's Survival Plan. GM's bailout plan is getting a close look by government officials and others to see if additional cash for the automaker or bankruptcy would be the best option for the carmaker.
- Banks Can Live as Walking Dead. Some caution that letting banks muddle through and slowly right themselves could risk a redux of Japan's lost decade.
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "President Obama said we have let our schools crumble and other nations are outpacing us in learning. But the good news, we're still number one in the number of students sleeping with their teachers. So, yeah!”
Jay Leno: "President Bush's first speech on the lecture circuit is June 17th in Pennsylvania. President Bush will discuss his eight years in office and the challenges facing us in the 21st century. Of course, the biggest challenge, getting over his eight years in office.”
Jay Leno: "Former presidential candidate John Edwards spoke to Brown University last night to a crowd of 600 people. I think the topic was ‘From Hair to Paternity.'”
Jay Leno: "He spoke to the students at Brown about poverty and morals. Yeah, and who better to lecture young people about poverty and morals than a rich personal injury attorney who knocked up his mistress?”
Jay Leno: "The Department of Homeland Security plans to study the possibility that the human body -- that human body odor could be used to tell whether people are lying or not. You can smell someone and tell by their odor whether they're lying. You thought you hated your job?”