U.S. STOCK MARKET TO REMAIN CLOSED TUESDAY... With Hurricane Sandy hammering the East Coast, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq announced that markets will remain closed on Tuesday, but they hope to reopen on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Tomorrow's NYSE closure marks the first time the market has closed for weather on consecutive days since 1888.
The NWS's National Hurricane Center says Sandy is moving toward the northwest at 28 mph and is expected to continue in this direction until it strikes landfall tonight, and then turn west-northwest. The center of the hurricane is expected to make landfall along or just south of the southern New Jersey coast by early evening. Maximum sustained winds remain near 90 mph, with higher gusts reported. But Sandy isn't expected to weaken until moving "well inland."
RAINY SEASON IN MATO GROSSO DELAYED... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says unusually hot and dry conditions in October across Mato Grosso, Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, Brazil are the result of the rainy season being delayed. There is potential for rains in Parana and Rio Grande do Sul , but tropical states such as Mato Grosso are expected to see a continuation of hot and dry conditions this week. Some forecasters are signaling the potential for better rains in central and eastern Brazil in the 6- to 10-day window.
Martell says Parana and Rio Grande do Sul received decent moisture last week, with more rains seen in this region over the weekend. Meanwhile she said the main corn producing region of Argentina continues to be "slammed with very heavy rainfall," with more in the forecast for this week. Click here for more, including related maps.
MALANGA COMMENTS ON POSSIBLE 'FISCAL CLIFF' SCENARIOS... LaSalle Economists president Vince Malanga, a regular at Pro Farmer seminars, says regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, it may be difficult to avoid the "fiscal cliff" as neither candidate has a mandate toward significant change.
Malanga says the least favorable outcome would be a "kick-the-can" scenario for some period of time. "This would prolong business paralysis; it would force a debt ceiling confrontation; and it would raise the specter of a sovereign debt downgrade. Were the economy to go over the fiscal cliff a sharp recession would take hold," he says. "But at least it would create an urgency for real action because with the global economy is such a tenuous circumstance there would be untold consequences if it did not spawn real action."
"The most positive outcome would be a grand compromise along the lines of a Simpson-Bowles formula to rein in spending and broaden the tax base. This would undoubtedly be a confidence booster, but it would not be a painless solution," says Malanga.
Malanga says the most likely outcome is an eleventh-hour compromise which will involve some spending restraint and some revenue enhancement. "But this would impose fiscal drag on an economy which is barely growing in the absence of fiscal drag," he says. "So to repeat one of our favorite phrases, it is a fine fix in which we find ourselves. As a consequence the Federal Reserve will continue to find itself having no choice but to supply massive liquidity. The election outcome will not affect this policy course and it will continue until the Fed can see a path to more solid growth. In other words it will be for a long time absent some unforeseen positive exogenous event."