Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.81 percent, or 63.11 points, to close at 7,682.14.
- The dollar was at 88.66 yen.
Friday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 45.24, or 0.56 percent, to 8,077.56, down 2.5 percent for the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.80, or 0.81 percent, to 1,477.29 -- down 3.4 percent for the week.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.62 percent from 2.60 percent late Thursday.
- The dollar was at 88.85 yen from 88.71 yen, while the euro weakened to $1.2985 from $1.3005 late Thursday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures posted a choppy week of trade, finishing the week about where they ended it last week.
- Soybeans: Futures traded higher for much of the session, but gave up gains late and finished low-range.
- Wheat: Futures opened lower on spillover from neighboring pits and finished mostly mid-range.
- Cotton: Futures posted strong late-week gains to extend the rally from the November low.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed moderately to sharply lower Friday.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed mixed, but still posted losses for the week as traders remain concerned about slowing domestic demand due to the lingering recession.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Lending Drops at Big U.S. Banks Top Beneficiaries of Federal Cash Saw Outstanding Loans Decline 1.4% Last Quarter Ten of the 13 banking firms who have captured the most funds from the TARP program actually reported their lending declined in the fourth quarter of 2008, raising more questions about the effectiveness of the TARP effort. Banks counter they need time to make good loans and and to attract deposits to help facilitate loaning of money.
- Will January Be the Cruelest Month? Market's Performance (Down About 8%) May Hint at Rest of Year (Gulp!) So far the Dow and other indices are down for the month, and that could portend a sour year for financial markets. A positive January led to an average increase of 9.8% over the rest of the year, according to Ned Davis Research. A negative January led to gains that averaged just 1.6%. Some say the market has yet to experience the Obama 'honeymoon' many expected.
- Fertilizer Play Offers Theatrics Proposed CF-Terra Deal To Test New Administration Over Antitrust Matters. Some say the possible merger could put around 50% of the fertilizer supply under the control of one firm and will present the first test for the Obama Justice Dept. which was expected to take a closer look at mergers.
- Bankruptcy Fears Grip Auto-Parts Suppliers Auto parts suppliers are taking steps to either prepare for or try to avoid bankruptcy in the wake of the downturn in the auto industry. Others say it's a sign the aid to the auto industry needs to be broadened beyond auto makers.
- Business Seeks Stimulus Tax Cuts Industry Groups Step Up Lobbying While Obama Moves to Take Control of Debate Some say that while the stimulus plan will most likely pass Congress, it may not provide the Obama administration with a broad bipartisan victory they had hoped as some Republicans are chafing at what's in -- or not in -- the plan.
The Stimulus Time Machine Review & Outlook item.
Watch Out for Stimulus 'Leaks'
Stimulus Plan Is the Big Hope For Steel Firms
Stimulus Could Juice the IPO Market
- Obama Moves to Let States Set Own Rules on Emissions . One of the Bush administration decisions the Obama team is seen potentially reversing is to let states set their own emissions standards for autos. The Bush administration had rejected California's request to do so and the article says the Obama team will revisit the issue.
- Beijing Snaps Back Over Yuan. China said the charge that they are manipulating their currency is incorrect and that there are bigger things to focus on in the global economic situation.
Geithner Is Exactly Wrong on China Trade
- Congress Needs to Help the Economy Fast Let's not debate another rescue bill in a few months. Commentary item by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). The two senators say the new stimulus package has to also address the financial situation as credit remains a key choke point for the U.S. economy to recover.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama's Order Is Likely to Tighten Auto Standards The Obama directive will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration's past rejection of the California application. It doesn't order the reversal of the ruling, but the article concludes it's more likely to happen.
- Nationalization Gets a New, Serious Look Questions are already arising about whether the new administration and Congress are going to proceed down the path of nationalizing financial institutions. Most won't directly answer the issue and insist that other options are still being studied than having the government take ownership in banks.
- OPEC Achieves Cuts in Output, Halting Price Slide . OPEC nations say the rise in prices from levels well below $40 per barrel shows their output cuts are indeed working.
- Technology Gets a Piece of Stimulus. Areas like computerizing medical records, expanding rural Internet and creating a smart power grid are three technology-related efforts currently in the economic stimulus plan being worked on in Congress.
- Fed May Gain More Financial Oversight Some Worry Plan Would Give Bank Too Much Power Expectations are the Fed will end up with broader powers as part of economic stimulus/financial rescue efforts, something which some fret may not be good. Some also worry giving the Fed too much authority could muddy the central bank's focus.
Financial Institutions May Need Additional Funds, Biden Says
- Obama to Take Steps On Car Fuel Efficiency Obama will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to grant California a waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions linked to global warming, sources said, and he will order the Transportation Department to issue guidelines that will ensure that the nation's auto fleet reaches an average fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, if not earlier.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Two million people attended the inauguration, compared to less than 500,000 when Bush was inaugurated four years ago. But that makes sense because four years ago, you know, people had jobs to go to."
Jay Leno: "And there was a stumbling during the reading of the oath," when the "chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, forgot the words for a second and then he got them in the wrong order. See, how typical is that? Barack, just a second before he takes over, the Republicans get one last screw up in there."
Craig Ferguson: "The new season of 'Lost' kicked off tonight. ... If you haven't seen it, 'Lost' is about a group of desperate people out of touch with the world. It's based on the true story of the Republican Party."