Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average was up 334.49 points, or 3.9 percent, to 8828.26.
- The dollar was at 97.78 yen from 97.49 yen.
Wednesday U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 168.78 points, or 2.1 percent, to 8,185.73, its highest close since Feb. 9. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 38.13 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,711.94, its highest closing level since Nov. 4
- The benchmark 10-year note fell 25/32, or $7.8125 per $1,000 face value, at 97 3/32. Its yield rose to 3.096 percent from 3.002 percent on Tuesday. The 30-year bond dropped 1 5/32 to yield 4.026 percent.
- Currencies: Late Wednesday in New York, the euro was at $1.3250 from $1.3144 late Tuesday. The euro was at 129.17 yen from 126.76 yen. The dollar rose to 97.48 yen from 96.44 yen late Tuesday. The dollar was at 1.1371 Swiss francs from 1.1435 francs, while the pound rose to $1.4773 from $1.4626 late Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures extended gains into the close and buy stops were triggered. Corn closed 17 to 18 cents higher to post a big upside day of trade on the charts.
- Soybeans: Futures extended early gains as buy stops were triggered to post sharp gains and a high-range close.
- Wheat: Futures extended early gains, seeing spillover from neighboring pits. Chicago wheat closed 8 to 10 cents higher, with Kansas City up 7 to 9 cents. Minneapolis closed 10 to 16 cents higher.
- Cotton: Futures started the day mixed and firmed to close around 40 to 60 points higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures May hog futures remained under pressure through the day, with losses extended into the close to finish $2.85 lower. June hogs were choppy, but ended 45 cents higher.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures posted a high-range close, with live cattle closing 85 cents to $1 higher and feeders up 20 cents to $1.07 1/2.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Pork Producers Ache From Swine Flu Declining hog prices amid the swine-flu outbreak could spawn losses of more than a quarter of a billion dollars and be the last straw for some U.S. pork producers.
- U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas. The discoveries are spurring policy makers to look to natural gas to solve a range of energy problems.
- Chrysler Chapter 11 Is Imminent Chrysler faced the almost certain prospect of having to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as talks between the Treasury Department and the auto maker's lenders broke down.
- Fed Signals Its Intention to Stay the Course The Federal Reserve signaled it has no intention of pulling back from its aggressive efforts to revive the financial system, even though it acknowledged that the intensity of the recession has eased in recent weeks.
- Congress Clears $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Congress passed a $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, handing President Barack Obama a victory on the 100th day of his presidency and helping set the stage for a significant shift in national priorities.
- Tough Call Looms for Minnesota Governor By switching parties and handing Democrats a crack at a filibuster-proof majority, former Republican Sen. Arlen Specter could be putting another Republican -- presidential hopeful and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- in a political bind. Gov. Pawlenty may have to decide whether to certify Democrat Al Franken as a U.S. senator while Norm Coleman, Franken's Republican opponent, is still challenging the results of the November election.
- Obama Aims for Fast Private Sector Exit President Barack Obama said he wants to get the government out of the private sector as fast as possible -- but that as long as his administration is acting as a major shareholder for large sectors of American commerce, from cars to finance, he won't hesitate to shape decisions at those firms.
- WHO Warns of Imminent World-Wide Pandemic U.N. Agency Raises Alert Level to Phase 5, Citing Sustained Person-to-Person Transmission in the U.S. and Mexico The World Health Organization warned countries Wednesday that a global pandemic from a new strain of flu appeared imminent, as the number of ill continued to grow and the first death outside Mexico was reported in Texas.
- Expert Says Farm Isn't Flu Origin Mexico's top government epidemiologist said Wednesday that it is "highly improbable" that a farm in the Mexican state of Veracruz operated by Smithfield Foods Inc. is responsible for the nation's swine-flu outbreak.
- Soap Makers, Others Hitch Ads to Swine Flu As fears of swine flu spread, companies ranging from soap manufacturers to makers of designer face masks are ramping up their marketing efforts.
- China's Stimulus Spurs U.S. Business A growing number of U.S. companies are quickly benefiting from China's $585 billion stimulus program.
- Debit-Card Use Overtakes Credit Visa said total dollar purchases made using its debit cards surpassed credit-card volume for the first time in the last quarter of 2008.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Swine Flu Is Suspected in Region; WHO Warns of Likely Pandemic 6 Possible Cases Investigated in Md. as Global Alert Is Raised The World Health Organization took the unprecedented step yesterday of warning that the world is probably on the verge of a pandemic, as new cases of swine flu mounted, the first death was reported in the United States and the dangerous virus appeared to arrive just outside the nation's capital.
- System Set Up After SARS Epidemic Was Slow to Alert Global Authorities Despite huge efforts in the past six years to make the reporting of disease outbreaks fast and automatic, there were significant delays in bringing Mexico's swine flu outbreak to the full attention of international authorities.
- Swine Flu Devastates Mexico's Tourism Industry The airports are empty. The beach you could have to yourself. The hotel staffs are washing their hands every half-hour when they're not sanitizing the doorknobs.
- In Sharp Contraction, Basis for an Upswing Household Spending Rose as U.S. Output Fell The U.S. economy contracted at a surprisingly fast pace at the beginning of the year, but it shrank in ways that could lay the groundwork for growth in the months ahead.
- Congress Approves Obama's $3.4 Trillion Spending Blueprint The Democratically controlled Congress yesterday easily approved a $3.4 trillion spending plan, setting the stage for President Obama to pursue the first major overhaul of the nation's health-care system in a generation along with other far-reaching domestic initiatives.
- Obama Outlines Credit Card Reforms Congress Weighs Limits on Industry The Obama administration yesterday called for an end to unfair credit card industry practices such as retroactive interest rate increases for any reason, late-fee traps that penalize borrowers with weekend or middle-of-the-day deadlines and teaser rates that last less than six months.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Sen. Arlen Specter has a new reality show: 'I'm a Republican...Get Me Out of Here!'"
Jay Leno: "Seventy-nine-year-old Arlen Specter is now switching to the Democratic Party, which is a big loss for Republicans. You know, when they lose that young blood," it hurts.
Jay Leno: President Obama "took an hour of TV time to address the American people," but the "Fox network didn't air it," choosing instead to run "their regular program 'Lie to Me,' which, I believe, was the name of the Republican response, actually."
Jay Leno: "Today was President Obama's 100th day in office." George W. Bush "was president for eight years," and he "never came close to spending 100 days in the office. So, we're way ahead."
Jay Leno: "The economy is so bad" that "today, the White House flew a Southwest plane over the Statue of Liberty."