Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 484.68 points, or 5.6%, to 8235.87.
- The dollar tumbled 3 yen, reaching 88.10 yen -- a level unseen since Aug. 1995. The dollar eventually recovered to trade at 89.50 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 196.33, or 2.24 percent, to 8,565.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 57.60, or 3.68 percent, to 1,507.88.
- The 10-year Treasury note rose 11/32 point, or $3.4375 for every $1,000 invested, to 109 18/32, to yield 2.648 percent, compared with 2.686 percent Wednesday. The yield on the two-year note, 0.801 percent, was the lowest in more than 35 years.
- The dollar was mostly lower against most other major currencies.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures opened weaker, but quickly turned higher on spillover from strong gains in the bean pit and help from outside markets.
- Soybeans: Futures closed 25 1/4 to 27 cents higher, with meal and soyoil seeing strong spillover support.
- Wheat: Futures saw a choppy day of trade, with Chicago and Minneapolis closing weaker in all but the front-month Minneapolis contract. Kansas City wheat closed 2 1/4 to 5 3/4 cents higher.
- Cotton: Futures closed higher, finding support from outside markets.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures briefly traded mixed, but ended 25 to 75 cents lower.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures were supported throughout the day on spillover from recent gains and help from outside markets.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Rescue Bid for Detroit Collapses in Senate Efforts failed to put together an auto aid package that would garner enough Republican support for passage. One key issue is that Republicans sought to have U.S. auto wages move to parity with Japanese auto worker wages as quickly as 2009. The package's failure pressured the dollar and foreign stock markets as further action seems unlikely until January.
- Rangel Hits Obama Closer to Home While many are focused on the Illinois political shenanigans, the situation with House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) continues to unfold with new allegations of Rangel voting for a tax break that helped a donor. However, the item predicts that Rangel will survive.
- Debt Shows First Drop as Slump Squeezes Consumers U.S. households paid down debt for the first time since the Fed started collecting the information in 1952. While that's a sign households are saving more, that means they are spending less. That could be a key development as consumer spending drives 70% of GDP.
- Times Tough for Energy Overhaul Struggling Economy, Falling Oil Prices Complicate Obama Team's Agenda Pushing forward an aggressive energy policy overhaul could prove difficult for the Obama administration given the current economic climate. Steven Chu, expected to be the next Energy Sec., backs raising gasoline taxes gradually over 15 years, but that's not a position shared by everyone on the Obama team.
Obama's Carbon Busters Review & Outlook item.
Perry: Carbon Caps 'Disastrous' for Texas
EU Leaders Focus on Climate, Stimulus
- Blagojevich Left Legal Bills Unpaid. As things unfold in Illinois, it has come to light the governor owes some $500,000 in legal fees.
Rezko Emerges With Central Role in Case
Wash Wire: Rezko's Sentencing Is Delayed
Blagojevich Thrived by Capitalizing on Connections
Obama to List Contacts With Illinois Governor
- China Data Spark Deflation Worries November marked the fourth consecutive month-on-month fall in China's consumer-price index, and if the trend continues in early 2009 when data is compared against skyrocketing prices of early this year, deflation could be the result and that's typically a tough thing for governments to reverse.
- Critics Top Shortlist for FDA Head Baltimore's Sharfstein, Cleveland Clinic's Nissen Have Tangled With Industry. Two that have criticized the Food and Drug Administration are said to be on the short list of those that President-elect Obama may tap to head the agency.
New York Times (registration to site required)
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Study says cuts in pollution needed to shrink dead zone A study by the National Academies of Science recommends setting pollution reduction targets for the watersheds, or drainage areas, that are the largest sources of the pollution that flows down the Mississippi River to the gulf.
Denver Post (Colorado)
- West aided Salazar's big step up While the article concludes that a seat on the Appropriations Committee may mean Salazar is out of the running for USDA Secretary, the congressman says that he would have to consider it and said he could also do good things for the state if he was chosen for the USDA post.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: "Yeah, when former New York Governor Elliott Spitzer heard about Governor Blagojevich, he said, ‘Hey, you call that a scandal? No, I don't think so.'”
David Letterman: "Well, it looks like the Big Three auto makers are going to get some bailout money. … But the CEOs, these guys, they have promised when they get the bailout money, they can't use it to give themselves big, big year-end bonuses. They said, ‘Well, no, of course not. That's what the employee pension funds are for.'”
Conan O'Brien: "Now, some Senate leaders in Washington say they're…very close to reaching a bailout deal for the car companies. The senators say it's taking so long because every time they almost get a deal, the car executives say, ‘I have to go back and check with my manager.'”
Conan O'Brien: "Speaking of Senate seats, this morning, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI because he was trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama. … Blagojevich says he's sorry he tried to sell the seat and extremely sorry he did it on Craigslist.” =