Bulls Still Swimming Upstream

October 4, 2011 01:00 AM

What Traders are Talking About:

* FC Stone sees bigger corn, bean crops. Brokerage firm INTL FC Stone raised its corn and soybean crop estimates to 12.553 billion bu. (148.7 bu. per acre yield) and 3.157 billion bu. (42.8 bu. yield), respectively. In September, the firm pegged the corn crop at 12.350 billion bu. (146.3 bu. yield) and the soybean crop at 3.03 billion bu. (41.05 bu. yield), while USDA estimated corn at 12.497 billion bu. (148.1 bu. yield) and soybeans at 3.085 billion bu. (41.8 bu. yield).

The long and short of it: Slightly bigger crop estimates compared to September are not a surprise, as early yield reports have been coming in "better than expected," especially for soybeans.

* Greek debt default concerns heighten. Euro-zone finance ministers have decided to delay the next aid payment to Greece until mid-November. Greece's finance minister says the country can wait that long without defaulting, but investors are growing increasingly nervous. Plus, euro-zone finance ministers are reassessing the private sector's role in the second aid package. In July, banks agreed to a 21% write-down on Greek debt, but Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of euro-zone ministers, now says the private sector may have to play a bigger role as conditions have changed since the original agreement was reached.

The long and short of it: Greek debt default concerns are up, which means investor confidence is down.

* Bernanke hits the Hill. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the Joint Economic Committee today to offer his outlook on the state of the economy, governmental fiscal policy and federal spending priorities. Bernanke's testimony comes just ahead of Friday's jobs report. Congressional members are likely to grill Bernanke especially hard on Operation Twist, the Fed's latest attempt to boost the U.S. economy.

The long and short of it: It's unlikely Bernanke will say anything to improve investor confidence -- that must come from raw economic data. But it's possible he could say something to further erode investor attitudes.


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