Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dipped 9.36 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,626.97.
- The dollar was at 98.15 yen from 98.63 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 174.75, or 2.3 percent, at 7,924.56 -- its highest close since Feb. 12. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 58.05, or 3.8 percent, to 1,587.00.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.76 percent from 2.79 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 98.70 Japanese yen from 97.43 yen, while the euro was at $1.3518 from $1.3597 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures extended early gains around midday, finishing mostly around 5 cents higher.
- Soybeans: Futures saw a choppy day of trade. Futures finished mixed, with nearbys weaker amid profit-taking and spread unwinding; deferreds were firmer.
- Wheat: Futures closed slightly higher after seeing two-sided trade.
- Cotton: Futures saw two-sided trade, but ended 59 to 69 points lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures favored a weaker tone through the day, although saw periods of mixed price action. Futures closed 72 cents to $1.15 lower.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed 35 to 82 cents lower, with feeders down 35 to 87 cents.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Treasury Maps New Era of Regulation The plan still has to work its way through Congress and even those targeted by the proposal say they won't oppose it but will seek to shift some of the details of the plan. The action and other moves announced by the administration this week were seen as an effort to get some actions or proposed actions announced ahead of the G-20 summit next week.
Devil Lurks in the Details of Geithner Plan
Top Risk Officers Remain at Insurer's Helm
Fund Firms Look to Offer a Toxic Taste
What's Left of TARP? Treasury Stays Mum
How Korea Solved Its Banking Crisis Editorial by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
- Profits Drop at Steepest Rate in 55 Years Profits at corporations in the fourth quarter fell 16.5% from the previous quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, and compared to the year-ago quarter, the drop was 20%.
- Store Brands Squeeze Big Food Firms After Profiting From Higher Prices, ConAgra and Other Makers Are Rethinking Strategy as Volume Falls. As store brands are gaining in sales at grocery stores as consumers deal with the recession, major food companies are now in some cases lowering food prices in an effort to boost sales. Many have reported downturns in sales.
- Mileage Standard to Rise to 27.3 MPG Under the new rules, fuel economy standards for passenger cars will be set at 30.2 mpg in the 2011 model year, compared with the current 27.5 mpg standard. The light-trucks standard would rise to 24.1 mpg from the current standard of roughly 23 mpg. Combined, the fleet average for 2011 models is supposed to achieve 27.3 miles per gallon.
- WTO Details Rising Protectionism, Pushes Countries to Reverse Course. The world trade body handed out criticism to countries for taking protectionist actions on trade such as raising tariffs on imports. But it also commended countries for actions to remove trade restrictions. The item says aides to WTO Director General Lamy say the WTO chief believes he can shame countries into reversing protectionist actions.
- Falling Oil Supply Risks a Price Rise. Cambridge Energy Research Associates said in a new report that the downturn in spending on oil and gas exploration could trim some 8 million barrels per day in future oil supplies, setting the stage for another big rally in oil prices. The report says that reduction in capacity is a "potentially powerful and long-lasting aftershock" following the oil-price slide of 2008.
Gas Falls Below $4, Storage Levels Rise
- Obama Goes for It All in Budget . The Obama budget proposal pushed some broad changes in the direction for government, using the economic crisis as the backdrop to try and push the reform ideas through. The item notes aides to Obama view their situation as similar to that of Ronald Reagan in 1981 in which his budget plan was a shock to the system as well.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Aided by Safety Nets, Europe Resists Stimulus Push European governments are resisting U.S. calls for more stimulus efforts on their part, noting that safety net features they designed in good times are now kicking in and providing the kind of help automatically that the U.S. has to legislate.
- Heartbreaking Triage as Fargo Battles Floods Officials are now concerned about homes located between two levies, particularly if the first one does somehow get bested by flood waters.
- Battles Over Reform Plan Lie Ahead While lawmakers appear to be currently favorably disposed to administration proposals on new regulations for financial markets, financial industry groups are mobilizing for a battle over some provisions which they have opposed for years.
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
- Flood coverage. This link takes you to the paper's News Section where a host of stories on efforts to address the rising floodwaters on the Red River are covered in depth.
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
- ConAgra sees strong end to year Cost cutting and other actions are expected to produce a positive fourth quarter for the firm, with a boost also seen from new products and a new marketing campaign for some of its products.
Denver Post (Colorado)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Earlier today, President Obama filled...three of the remaining top jobs at the Treasury Department. Their job" will be "to collect taxes from all the other cabinet members that haven't paid them yet."
Jay Leno: "Hey," you "hear about this? Very...strange incident at JFK Airport in New York City today. An AIG executive going through security had to empty out all his pockets. You know what fell out? Senator Chris Dodd."
Craig Ferguson: "President Obama held a big press conference earlier tonight. ... He's on TV a lot these days. The only way Obama could get more TV time is if he had eight babies."
Jimmy Kimmel: "Obama also repeated his support for Treasury Secretary Geithner, who unveiled his plan yesterday for the government to buy up the so-called 'toxic assets' from troubled banks and sell them to China, which will then make them into children's toys" and that "should solve the problem entirely."