Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 26.21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,945.96 as actions by the Fed weighed on the U.S. dollar.
- The dollar was at 95.76 yen from 99 yen Wednesday.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.88, or 1.2 percent, to 7,486.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 29.11, or 2 percent, to 1,491.22.
- The 10-year Treasury note tumbled to 2.50 percent from 3.01 percent late Tuesday -- the largest one-day drop since the aftermath of the 1987 market crash.
- The dollar was at 96.19 yen after dropping to a low at 95.66 yen and from 98.54 yen Tuesday, while the euro was at $1.3491 in late Wednesday afternoon trading in New York, from $1.3014.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures a weaker tone through the day, but didn't stray too far from unchanged.
- Soybeans: Futures finished with a mixed tone.
- Wheat: Futures extended losses in afternoon trade to finish sharply lower and on or near session lows.
- Cotton: Futures extended losses into the close to finish 90 to 113 points lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures posted slight gains for the day, but closed in the middle of the day's range.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed 7 to 75 cents lower after seeing two-sided trade.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Fed in Bond-Buying Binge to Spur Growth Dramatic Plan to Purchase $300 Billion in Treasurys Causes Biggest Drop in Interest Rates Since '87; Perils of Printing Money All told, the Fed will pump as much as an extra $1.15 trillion into the economy via bond purchases. The Fed will buy as much as $300 billion in long-term Treasurys in the next six months. It will increase the ceiling on purchases of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $1.25 trillion, up from $500 billion. The Fed also is doubling potential purchases of their debt, to $200 billion.
Fed's Gamble: Buying Long Bonds
Consumer-Loan Plan Is Off to Slow Start
Critics Got Donations From Insurer
Dodd's Amendment at Crux of Bonus Issue
Fannie Is Handing Out Its Own Sizable Retention Payouts
'Outrage' Overflows on Capitol Hill as Lawmakers Denounce Bonuses
Uproar Over Geithner's Role in Bonuses Could Vex Rescue
Obama's AIG Panic Editorial
- Some Will Pay Back AIG Bonuses The CEO of AIG said that he has asked those receiving $100,000 or more in bonuses to pay at least half of that back and some are returning the entire amount. Liddy conceded in testimony that the AIG name had been so damaged and "disgraced" that the company would probably phase it out over time.
- Mexico Issues Tariff List in U.S. Trucking Dispute Mexico published the list of nearly 90 U.S. products, including some ag goods, that would see higher tariffs. The items targeted were also selected, it appeared, to target some lawmakers' home districts. But products like wheat, corn and meat were not targeted in part as Mexico sought to minimize any potential impact on Mexican consumers.
Mexico Retaliates Editorial.
- Valero Outbids ADM For VeraSun Plants. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday accepted the bid from Valero to buy seven ethanol plants from VeraSun and the option to build an eighth. The plants will provide Valero with 780 million gallons of ethanol production capacity, enough to make about half of the ethanol it needs to comply with a federal mandate in 2009, according to analyst estimates.
- General Mills Profit Hurt by Costs Forecast Is Raised as Consumers Dine at Home, but Investors Wanted More For the quarter ended Feb. 22, General Mills reported net income of $288.9 million, or 85 cents a share, down 33% from $430.1 million, or $1.23 a share, a year earlier.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Fed to Buy $1 Trillion in Securities to Aid Economy The Fed's interest rate setting meeting ended with no change in rates, as expected, but the Fed said it would pump an extra $1 trillion into the financial system by purchasing Treasury bonds and mortgage securities.
- A.I.G. Seeking Return of Half of Its Bonuses The firm's CEO testified before Congress, saying he has asked those receiving bonuses over a certain amount to return half of the money. But lawmakers aren't content with the action, as a group are expected to come to the House floor today with legislation to tax 90% of bonuses paid out since Jan. 1 by A.I.G. or any other company that had accepted more than $5 billion in government bailout funds.
G.M. Tries a New Tack to Win Aid
- A Defining Moment for Treasury Secretary The flap over bonuses at AIG is the latest in a string of developments that has critics of the Treasury Sec. questioning his ability to be at the helm of the Treasury during the country's financial crisis.
- Valero Energy, the Oil Refiner, Wins an Auction for 7 Ethanol Plants . The company paid $477 million for the seven plants and rights to build one more. The purchase is said to reflect a view that the renewable fuels mandates which require the use of ethanol are going to be in place for a while.
||Monitoring the countryside
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Refiner Valero to obtain eight VeraSun plants Valero Energy would buy ethanol plants in Albert City, Charles City, Fort Dodge and Hartley, Iowa, along with plants in Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Indiana for $477 million from bankrupt VeraSun Energy. The report says VeraSun's remaining Iowa plant at Dyersville would be sold to a group of VeraSun lenders, led by AgStar Financial Services. AgStar Financial Services would also buy plants in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and two in Nebraska.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "You all ready for March madness? But enough about AIG's big bonuses.”
Jay Leno: "Well, you've probably heard of this. The insurance company AIG has done it again. They announced they're giving their executives another $165 million in bonuses. … So they…bankrupt the company, took $170 billion of our dollars, and they're giving out bonuses. You know the main thing they want to reward their people for? Convincing the Treasury Department to give out $170 billion to a failing company so they can give out bonuses for a job well done. It's very well thought out.”
Jay Leno: "In fact, you know what AIG stands for? Anybody know? Adventures In Greed.”
Jay Leno: "Here's the best part. They don't have to account for any of this. Now it turns out they gave $35 billion -- not million -- $35 billion of our money to bail out European banks. See, this is how a global economy works. Our hard earned tax dollars are used to bail out German banks for making bad investments in American companies that shut down because their Japanese owners moved the whole thing to India, China and Mexico. You follow?”
Jay Leno: "Boy, you thought St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Let's send him down to Wall Street. That's what we should do.”
Jay Leno: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was called before Congress again. Geithner defended himself against criticism, saying he inherited this crisis. In fact, he said when the economy started this downturn he was busy in the private sector cheating on his taxes. He didn't have time.”
Jay Leno: "And some sad news. Bristol Palin,” Sarah "Palin's daughter, has broken up with baby-daddy Levi Johnston. I was stunned when I heard. I mean, really, if two kids without a decent education and no jobs and a baby can't make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?”
Jay Leno: "No, Levi told a friend, ‘I should have spent more time picking a mate,'” which is "the same thing” John McCain "said about Sarah Palin.”
Jay Leno: "The US Justice department said they will no longer use the term ‘enemy combatant' when talking about detainees at Guantanamo Bay. … The new name will be ‘guys who make you nervous when they're on your flight.'”