Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 139.02, or 1.6 percent, to 8,707.99.
- The dollar was at 97.02 yen from 97.85 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 70.49, or 0.9 percent, to 7,957.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 6.09, or 0.4 percent, to 1,652.21.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield was down to 2.93 percent from 2.94 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 97.92 yen from 98.03 yen, while the euro was at $1.3139, compared with $1.2996 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures rallied into the close to finish 7 to 8 cents higher and near session highs.
- Soybeans: Futures faded in late trade to end 6 to 8 cents lower in old-crop contracts, while new-crop futures finished fractionally lower.
- Wheat: Futures finished 11 to 12 cents higher in Chicago, 11 to 13 cents higher in Kansas City and 8 to 15 cents higher in Minneapolis.
- Cotton: Futures finished 106 to 171 points higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed sharply lower, while deferred contracts finished with slight losses.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures posted slight gains. Feeder cattle turned weaker late after trading higher
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Chrysler Near Bankruptcy Filing Chapter 11 Seen Even if Deal Is Struck With Lenders; Fiat in Alliance Talks With GM Talk is that Chrysler will file for bankruptcy next week under Chapter 11 even if it manages to work out a deal with lenders and reach a deal with Fiat. The bankruptcy filing may also allow Fiat to pick and choose which portions of the automaker it wants and the United Auto Workers are said to back the plan. The item says the Union may end up owning a chunk of the auto maker.
- CME Group Profit Drops 30% as It Pushes Into OTC Trading The exchange reported net income of $199.1 million for the first quarter, or $3 a share, down from $283.5 million, or $5.25 a share, a year earlier. Trading volume for the first quarter improved on a month-to-month basis, but overall activity was 33% below year-ago levels.
- Home Sales Fell 3%, Layoffs Rose in March While home sales declined in March and layoffs increased, many note the rate of decline has slowed from early this year, raising some hopes that a bottom could be near.
Outlook for Home Prices Clouded by Spat Over Historical Trends
- Stimulus Spending Gets a Slow Start, GAO Finds GAO said that states have yet to spend "significant" amounts of the transportation aid provided in the stimulus package and that only three states had completed the process to get money from the "State Fiscal Stabilization Fund."
- White House Seeks Relief for Consumers on Credit-Card Rules. President Obama continues to press on getting more credit flowing for consumers, saying it can be done in a way to assure those offering the credit a profit but in way that consumers don't find themselves in a difficult spot due to fees, etc.
Regulators See Risk in U.S. Bank Stakes
- Cuban-Americans Ponder What U.S. Should Do Next Obama's Outreach Spurs Debate on Proper Approach: Demand Reforms by Havana in Return or Speed the Pace of Engagement The situation with U.S.-Cuba relations is changing as the item notes many of those in decision-making roles are no longer directly connected to Cuba, creating a divide in the community on how to approach the future relative to Cuba policy.
- Democrats Weigh Break for Utilities in Climate-Change Bill. Lawmakers are mulling giving electric utilities a "break" under the climate change legislation, allowing them get free permits to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for as long as ten years. But they would be required to keep electricity rates low for consumers and businesses over that time.
Global Warming Overreach
Reckless 'Endangerment' Editorial.
Car Trade-In Proponents Near a Deal
- Net at Three Big Railroads Is Off Track. Burlington Northern/Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific all three reported steep drops in earnings and freight volume, but the head of Union Pacific signaled their carloadings data indicated some stabilization had begun.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- U.S. Said to Seek a Chrysler Plan for Bankruptcy The Treasury Dept. is said to be pushing Chrysler to formulate a plan for bankruptcy as it nears an April 30 deadline to come up with a viable business plan. If they do manage to reach a deal, then they'd be able to get an additional $6 billion in funding from the government. But any bankruptcy filing could come with risks -- consumers may shy away from Chrysler vehicles out of concern over company viability and quality.
Plight of Carmakers Could Upset All Pension Plans
- Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate The Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, has long argued against major policy shifts to address greenhouse gas emissions despite its own scientific advisers increasingly signaling the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change was there.
Groups See Added Risks From Change in Climate
- U.S. to Tell Big Banks the Results of Stress Test The nation's 19 largest banks are expected to starting learning today the results of government "stress tests" that are designed at determining their financial health. The Federal Reserve this afternoon is expected to signal how it conducted the tests but won't publicly release results until May 4.
- U.S. Trade Chief Says Obama Will Push Ahead on Pacts. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told a Georgetown University audience the Obama administration plans "a new paradigm” on trade, adding that they are "looking at everything. Plus, he cautioned that now is not the time for protectionism to be pursued.
- U.S. Forced Bank Board To Carry Out Merrill Deal In Inquiry Into Merger, Cuomo Details Pressure On Bank of America Government officials threatened to remove the management and board of Bank of America if it backed out of its deal to acquire ailing investment house Merrill Lynch late last year, according to documents released by New York.
- President's Critics See A Dull Knife Budget Watchers Say Cuts Are Just Symbolic Budget experts say the cuts President Obama focused on in his first cabinet meeting -- saving $100 million -- are more symbolic than anything and give the impression that Obama is not really serious about trimming the budget deficit. Other counter that the savings will add up and mark a first step toward trimming the deficit.
- Transportation Secretary Is the Stimulus Package's Biggest Republican Fan The item details an interview with Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, a Republican in the Obama administration. He laments that it is not easy to attract Republican support for some of the administration's efforts.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "They are now holding national elections in India. They have a month of voting, which seems long for an election. Unless you're from Minnesota. Then it's like nothing."
Jay Leno: "So many newspapers all across the country" are "going out of business. It's pretty scary, so congratulations to the New York Times," which this week "won five Pulitzer Prizes. ... I read about it online on Google News."
Jay Leno: President Obama told his Cabinet "to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely." But "there was one embarrassing moment when he had to explain to the Cabinet what a taxpayer was."
David Letterman: "Scientists are now saying that overweight people...cause or contribute to global warming. Talk about embarrassing for Al Gore."
Jimmy Fallon: "Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will appear together on stage in Toronto for a two-hour friendly debate. Each side gets to pick a topic, so the first hour will be centered on" the "international banking crisis. The second hour will be dedicated to NASCAR trivia."