Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plunged 415.14 points, or 4.9 percent, to 8,023.31.
- The dollar traded at 88.86 yen.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 248.42, or 2.94 percent, to 8,200.14 -- with all of its components closing in the red. AP reported only 314 stocks rose on the New York Stock Exchange, while 2,796 fell. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 56.82, or 3.67 percent, to 1,489.64.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.20 percent from 2.30 percent late Tuesday.
- The dollar fell to 89.06 yen from 89.13 while the euro was at $1.3160 from $1.3190 Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures finished around 4 cents higher, which was in the middle of the day's range.
- Soybeans: Futures saw a choppy day of trade. January beans finished around 8 cents higher, with March steady. The rest of the pit closed marginally to 3 cents lower.
- Wheat: Futures saw a choppy day of trade, but didn't stray too far from unchanged in either direction.
- Cotton: Futures closed slightly lower following a relatively quiet session.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures spent the day under pressure, but recovered to finish near session highs in all but the front-month contract, which still closed mid-range.
- Live Cattle: Live and feeder cattle futures settled slightly to moderately lower, but in the middle to upper end of the day's range.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Obama's Pick to Head SEC Has Record Of Being a Regulator With a Light Touch Ahead of today's confirmation hearing for Mary Schapiro to head the SEC, the item notes her record of enforcement while head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority indicates that she has not pursued many major major cases against players in the financial markets.
- Apple's Jobs Takes Medical Leave The head of Apple said his health situation was "more complex" than initially thought, prompting him to take a leave of absence until June. The article discusses the potential impact for the the company which has seen its fortunes rise with the introduction of such products as the iMac and iPhone.
At Apple, Low-Key Cook Respected for Expertise
- Daschle's Confirmation Bogs Down in Committee Examining records for former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) is slowing his nomination process although the report stresses aides say there's no major problems appearing, but that the process is taking time due to complexity.
IMF Informed Geithner on Taxes
- Obama, Stimulus Proposals Enjoy Broad Backing in Poll. The latest Wall St. Journal/NBC News poll indicates backing for the stimulus plan being developed in Washington, but many also dislike adding to the federal budget deficit. Also, most liked the concept of the government creating jobs as opposed to just giving consumers more cash to spend.
Recovery Price Tag Nears $850 Billion
- OPEC's Drastic Measures Fail to Counter Oil-Price Free Fall. The item notes that even statements by Saudi Arabia that they were poised to cut output to 2003 levels failed to bolster oil futures as prices continued to be hit by expectations of slow demand. Some members are calling for more cuts when the cartel meets again in March.
U.S. Refiners' Prospects Improve
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama Officials Ask Senate GOP to Back Release of Bailout Money Officials for the incoming Obama administration met with GOP lawmakers, urging them not to block release of the second installment of funds under the TARP program. If Congress does not approve the release, however, the Obama administration could veto the action and allow the funds to flow.
- Chávez Allows West to Make Oil Bids as Prices Plunge Despite actions before to nationalize their oil industry, reports are now that senior Venezuelan officials have begun soliciting bids from some of the largest Western oil companies in recent weeks. The moves are seen as yet another response to falling oil prices.
- Where Is Oil Going Next? Some oil producers are using tankers to effectively "store" oil as on-ground storage has become scarce amidst a demand downturn. Some oil users are buying up crude now at cheaper prices and stockpiling the supplies.
- Geithner's Mistake on Tax Is Common, Experts Say. The failure of Treasury nominee Timothy Geithner to pay taxes on wages received while working for the World Bank is one that others have made, according to experts. He prepared his own taxes in 2001 and 2002 and used a tax adviser in 2003 and 2004 that said he was exempt from paying the tax.
||Monitoring the countryside
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Vilsack vows to encourage use of locally grown foods The USDA nominee said he wanted consumers to be able to have more locally grown foods to be at their disposal. The article looks at other highlights of the confirmation hearing.
- Grassley sees Geithner slips as disconcerting Senate Finance Committee ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says the tax violations by Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner are of concern, but probably not enough to derail his nomination to the top spot at Treasury.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: "Today is Richard Nixon's birthday. ... Do you remember when he looked like a bad president?"
David Letterman: "George W. Bush now" has a "couple of weeks" until "he's out of office. And people are...saying, 'Mr. President, what are you going to do?'" He "said, 'I'm hoping to find something where I just get in up to my head.'"
David Letterman: "Hey. Here's great news. Remember Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, governor of Alaska. Well, she has a new grandson," and the "baby boy's name is Tripp. Apparently, Oops was taken."
David Letterman: Palin "was very excited." She brought "the grandson over to her house and held it up to the window so the Russians could get a look at it."
Jimmy Kimmel: "Some good news for Sarah Palin." A "poll by a real estate website found that she is America's number one choice for celebrity neighbor. Oprah came in second, which seems kind of crazy to me, because if you live next door to Oprah," she "won't shoot your pets."