Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed down 39.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,924.43.
- The dollar was at 100.67 yen from 100.23 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 246.27, or 3.1 percent, on Thursday to 8,083.38 -- up 0.8 percent for the week and fifth straight week of gains. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 61.88, or 3.9 percent, to 1,652.54 -- up 1.9 percent for the week.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.92 percent from 2.86 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 100.44 yen from 99.64 yen, while the euro was at $1.3161 from $1.3255 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures were unable to hold initial gains and finished mostly 5 to 7 cents lower on pre-holiday profit-taking.
- Soybeans: Futures opened sharply higher, but trimmed gains to finish 1 to 8 cents higher.
- Wheat: Futures ended the week under pressure after losses each day last week.
- Cotton: Futures settled slightly lower Thursday as the market failed to hold early price strength.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed near weekly highs.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed moderately to sharply higher today and posted solid gains for the week.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Bailed-Out Banks Face Probe Over Fee Hikes Banks contend they've had to raise their fees as they seek to recoup losses for toxic assets/bad loans still on their books. But consumers and others are upset at the fee increases announced by several banks who received bailout funds.
Bank Reports Hint at What Lies Ahead
- U.S. Takes a Gamble With Test of Carbon Caps on Car Makers Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is expected to declare that carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles endanger health and welfare because of their impact on the climate.
- Oil Industry Braces for Drop in U.S. Thirst for Gasoline Government forecasters say even if consumption recovers after the recession is over, it still won't top 2007 demand levels. Demand for all petroleum-based transportation fuels -- gasoline, diesel and jet fuel -- fell 7.1% last year, according to the EIA. This is the steepest one-year decline since at least 1950.
- China Pledges Aid to Neighbors. China plans to establish a $10 billion "investment cooperation fund" with the 10-member Asean to boost construction, energy, information and communications projects. It also offered $15 billion in credits and loans to the 10-member Asean, but terms of the aid weren't made public.
- Obama to Discuss U.S. Plan For Engagement With Cuba. President Obama is expected to tell Latin American leaders that the U.S. is willing to discuss how to improve relations with Cuba, but that the island country has to undertake some actions on its own before it can be admitted into the mainstream of western society.
- GM's Plan For Brief Stay In Bankruptcy Faces Hurdle. The automakers suggested path relative to bankruptcy is raising lots of questions and concerns among bondholders and others who fear they'll get "steamrolled" by the process.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight It's estimated that replacing subsidized loans made by private banks with direct government lending would save $94 billion over the next decade.
- China Slows Purchases of U.S. and Other Bonds . China sold bonds in Jan. and Feb. before coming back into the market in March, according to data -- Chinese reserves fell a record $32.6 billion in January and $1.4 billion more in February before rising $41.7 billion in March. Some see this as reducing Washington's reliance on China to finance our debt.
- State Cuts Delay U.S. Benefits, Official Says Furloughs and shortened work weeks announced by states as they cope with budget shortfalls are reducing action taken on Social Security disability claims, delaying action on the requests.
- ‘Surgical' Bankruptcy Possible for G.M. Should GM not be able to reach a deal with its creditors, a quick bankruptcy is being worked on. And some are pushing for this as soon as June 1. The new head of GM is allocating resources toward a bankruptcy even though he is said to think that is not the best way to proceed.
- Falling Prices in Japan Feed Deflation Fears. Japanese wholesale prices fell at their fastest rate since 2002 in March, raising prospects that Japan could see one of the slowest economic recoveries.
- Give-and-Take With Emanuel Advances President's Agenda Lawmakers Respond to Improved Access to White House The path pursued by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has won over some lawmakers critical of the Obama agenda, and has prompted even some in the opposition to believe that now things like major health care reform could be in reach.
- India Rejects Calls For Emission Cuts Officials Say Growth Will Be Compromised Indian officials are rejecting calls for them to undertaken new emissions limits, saying they fear it will negatively impact the country's economic growth. Some say this stance, if echoed by other developing countries, could eliminate most of the gains seen from cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
- Pentagon Prioritizes Pursuit Of Alternative Fuel Sources The Pentagon is putting additional efforts into finding alternative fuel sources as they note providing fuel to forward locations to run generators, etc., is its biggest fuel-related cost. That's in part due to the need to have any fuel shipments accompanied by an escort.
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
- ND ranchers to receive assistance North Dakota ranchers are in line to receive $750,000 in assistance from the government and the state is drawing up an expedited plan to disburse the aid.
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
- U.S. farm exports plummet in global recession Via the New York Times. The item looks at the latest ag trade data which showed the value of U.S. farm exports has continued to decline. But government and academic farm economists are worried that if the world economy does not recover over the next year or so, prices for produce and farm incomes could decline sharply and ultimately lead to a drop in farm real estate values.
- Oil companies put little energy into renewables. The item notes that some oil companies are putting few extra dollars into their research in wind, solar and hydrogen power and focus its alternative energy efforts on biofuels.
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: Top Ten Signs You Work For A Bad Company 10. Workday begins with a pledge of loyalty to Kim Jong Il 9. If you haven't used your sick days, they infect you with tuberculosis 8. They claim an excellent rating from the "Better Bidness Bureau" 7. Only office perk is the free oxygen 6. Instead of raises, everyone is given raisins 5. CEO recently advised employees to fake their deaths and move to 4. Costa Rica Blew $40 billion in government bailout funds on a state-of-the-art taco bar 3. You spend a lot of time opening for Deep Purple (sorry, that's a sign you work for the band Bad Company)2. Corporate logo is a handcuffed executive being put in a police cruiser 1. Company gave George W. Bush $7 million for his memoirs