Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed down 1.1 percent, or 20.57 points, at 13143.37 -- its 11th straight decline, the longest in 50 years.
- The dollar bought 106.00 yen, up from ¥105.92 late Wednesday.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down by 166.75 points, or 1.46 percent, at 11,215.51 -- down 20.8 percent from its record close in October. A 20 percent decline is typically considered the definition of a bear market. The Nasdaq Composite Index skidded 2.3 percent, or 53.51 points, to end at 2.251.46
- The 2-year Treasury note climbed 4/32 to yield 2.591 percent and the 10-year gained 10/32 for 3.969 percent.
- The dollar traded at 105.99 yen, down from 106.11 yen, while the euro bought $1.5880, up from $1.5783 Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures finished 28 to 30 cents higher for a high-range close.
- Soybeans: Futures extended gains into the close to finish mostly 16 to 20 cents higher and on or near session highs.
- Wheat: Futures closed 14 to 15 cents higher in Chicago and mostly 10 to 20 cents higher in Kansas City. Minneapolis wheat trimmed losses late, but still finished under pressure.
- Cotton: Futures ended 66 to 104 points lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures posted moderate to sharp gains. Winter and spring 2009 contracts led price gains.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures finished moderately to sharply higher, which was good for a high-range close.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- World Bank Urges Fast Action on Commodity Prices Zoellick Warns G-8 Of a 'Danger Zone'; $10 Billion Aid Plea Short-term needs now total $10 billion, according to World Bank chief Robert Zoellick and he called on the G-8 to take action to address the situation which could send 100 million people into poverty. However, many doubt nations will help to the level that Zoellick is suggesting.
- Paulson Seeks a System to Handle Orderly Failure of Financial Firms Others Toss Ideas Of 'SWAT' Team, Assets Auctioning Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson signaled Wednesday there needs to be a system set up to handle the failure of large financial firms as the government cannot be expected to step in every time a firm is in trouble.
- South Korean Protests Show Depth of Anger, Challenge President The protests which start in opposition to imports of U.S. beef, have evolved into a broader show of displeasure with the Korean government.
- Port Workers' Refusal To Extend Contract Sparks Fears. Port operators fret that unions will utilize actions similar to 2002 in the last contract negotiations which resulted in work slowdowns and cost billions of dollars.
- A Boom in Commodity Funds, And Each One Has Its Quirks. Estimates are there are now some 160 commodity funds, with two dozen opening in the past year.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Even Scheduling Is Delicate in S. Korea Trip The White House earlier this week announced President Bush would visit South Korea August 5-6, but Wednesday retracted the dates. The White House said a visit was still in the works, but the dates were not yet firm. South Korea's President Lee continues to deal with massive public protests which started as opposition to imports of U.S. beef.
- Bush Makes Final Push for Global Climate Deal At Talks in Japan, President Faces Opposition on Goals, Role of Developing Nations Bush is expected to push for a deal on a global climate pact at next week's G-8 summit in Japan, but he's finding little common ground on the issue.
- Africa's Food Crisis Opportunity Op-ed by Josh Ruxin, an assistant professor of public health at Columbia University, is founder and director of the Rwanda-based Access Project. The writer says the current climate with high food prices might be just the backdrop to provide meaningful change in Africa relative to their ability to feed themselves.
||Monitoring the countryside
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- No Iowa sweet corn on 4th This year's July 4th holiday in Iowa won't feature locally grown sweet corn as the combination of cold, wet weather has kept plants running behind by about two weeks.
- U.S. urged to import, not make, ethanol. A coalition of livestock producers and food companies is calling on the administration to remove the 54 cent per gallon import duty on ethanol.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "I had a nightmare last night, a horrible dream. … I dreamed I got a subprime mortgage loan from a gas station selling tomatoes with salmonella. It was a nightmare.”
Jay Leno: "And Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York” has "introduced a bill that will grant…immigrant visas” to "supermodels that want to come here. Well, I have never been prouder to be an American.”
Jay Leno: "Hey, today, gay marriage became legal here in the state of California. … Of course, with gay marriage now being legal, this will give birth to the next big growth industry here in California -- gay divorce.”
David Letterman: "John McCain is going after the Hillary Clinton female voters. Yes, and as a matter of fact, today he was campaigning in a pantsuit.”
David Letterman: "John McCain is actively courting women over 60. And I'm thinking, well who does this guy think he is, Ashton Kutcher?”
David Letterman: "President Bush” is "thinking that he'll write his memoir. … Unfortunately, the problem with the President writing his presidential memoir, I mean, I think before you write a book, you have to have read one.”
David Letterman: "He tells people the problem is he has writer's block. … Of course he does. It's that thing between his ears.”