Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 362.82, or 3.9 percent, to 8,876.42 -- its first loss in seven sessions.
- The dollar was at 91.96 yen, down from 92.68.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average down 245.40, or 2.72 percent, to 8,769.70 -- its biggest point and percentage decline since Dec. 1, 2008. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 53.32, or 3.23 percent, to 1,599.06.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.50 percent from 2.47 percent late Tuesday.
- The dollar was at 92.66 yen, down from 93.85 yen, while the euro was at $1.3630, up from $1.3522 late Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures extended early losses to finish near or just off session lows for the day, closing mostly around 10 cents lower.
- Soybeans: Futures posted sharp losses mostly in the 24- to 26-cent range and finished near session lows.
- Wheat: Futures closed sharply lower at all three exchanges.
- Cotton: Futures closed slightly lower after a lackluster day of trade.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures posted slight losses for the day, but finished well off session lows in most contracts.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures gapped lower on the open and sharply extended losses, with nearby contracts leading losses.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Democrats Retreat on Burris President-Elect, Senators Signal They're Ready to Seat Appointee While it may not happen immediately, signs all point to Roland Burris being seated as U.S. Senator from Illinois despite the controversy surrounding his nomination by Illinois' embattled governor.
- Gas-Pipeline Spat Shows Signs of Thaw. Russia and Ukraine agreed to let international experts monitor the pipelines that carry gas to the European Union, but the dispute between the two has already had impacts in the EU and the bloc of countries are seeking to get the supply line reopened quickly.
Europe Looks to Alternative Sources for Energy
- Stimulus Plans Intact, Despite Big Deficit President-elect Obama admitted that the stimulus package is likely to grow from initial expectations and could reach $1.3 billion. He also said he would provide some specific recommendations on budget cuts in his budget outline to be presented in February as his administration seeks to also deal with a budget deficit put at $1.2 trillion by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The Deficit Spending Blowout Review & Outlook item.
- FDA Outlays for Morale-Boosting Draw Fire From Lawmakers Lawmakers are irked at the FDA holding a two-day conference to boost morale at the agency at a time when the agency complains about lacking funds for some of its services.
- Obama's Regulatory Czar Likely to Set a New Tone. Cass Sunstein has been tapped to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and believes in designing regulation around the ways that people behave.
- Salmonella Outbreak Has Sickened 388 People. Officials are trying to track the source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 400 people in 42 states since fall of 2008.
- Monsanto's Profit Shoots Higher Sales in Latin America Bolster Results; CEO Stands Pat on Seed Prices. The head of the company also pledged to hold the line on its seed prices even if competitors employ aggressive pricing in an attempt to win market share.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama Promises Bid to Overhaul Retiree Spending President-elect Obama said that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be "a central part” of his administration's efforts to contain federal spending, but he offered no details on how that would be accomplished. He also pledged a more intensive effort to remove inefficient programs.
- China Losing Taste for Debt From U.S. China has spent as much as one-seventh of its entire economic output buying foreign debt, mostly American. But China's own economic stimulus efforts are seen having a negative impact on the level of foreign debt China is willing to purchase.
- Senate Democrats Open Way to Seat Burris The dispute appears headed to a resolution that will see Roland Burris seated as a U.S. Senator.
- The Amish Flock From Farms to Small Businesses. The Amish have struggled with how to move from farming to being part of the more-modern business world. But their transition is working, according to those interviewed for the article.
- New Rules for Fuel Economy Will Have to Wait. The brief item says the Bush administration has pulled back plans to publish new regs on raising automobile mileage standards, opting to leave that for the Obama administration.
- Obama Assembles Powerful West Wing Influential Advisers May Compete With Cabinet There are split views on whether the effort to establish several White House "czar" positions by Obama will streamline and improve the decision-making process on key issues or further muddy the waters.
- Congress Urges Spending Restraint Facing Largest Deficit Since 1945, Obama Names Official to Help Retool Budget Lawmakers are calling on Obama to limit efforts in the stimulus plan to ones that don't add to the deficit over the longer term.
Lawmakers and Financial Experts Question Obama's Tax Cuts
- Paulson Urges New Structure For Fannie And Freddie Nation Should Back Mortgage 'Utilities' Outgoing Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson proposed replacing mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with highly regulated utilities that would play a more limited role in making money available for home loans. Short term, those two agencies need to be utilized, he said.
||Monitoring the countryside
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
- Farmers peer into future of industry Channel Bio Corp. put on the meeting at which farmers heard several presentations on upcoming "upgrades" to things like seed and other technologies farmers will have at their disposal in the future.
- Ethanol Plant Suspends Operations. The Husker Ag ethanol plant near Plainview has suspended operations after posting losses of $6 million for the first 10 months of 2008. But officials expect to resume operations by the end of this month.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "As you may have heard, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced this weekend that he is withdrawing his nomination to be Commerce Secretary because of a grand jury investigation involving some of his political donors. And once again, President Bush, not really following this story. Like, when he heard there was a problem with the governor of New Mexico, he said, ‘Well, he should be deported.'”
Craig Ferguson: "We were on vacation last week,” and so "much happened while I was away. Sarah Palin became a grandmother. She's been helping out with all the diaper changes. It's like she's back campaigning with John McCain.”
Craig Ferguson: "The new year's been tough on John McCain. He's still writing 1908 on his checks. It is very difficult.”