Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plunged 811.90 points, or 9.6 percent, to 7,649.08 -- its lowest since April 2003 and down 12 percent for the week.
- The dollar bought 93.24 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 172.04 points, or 2 percent, at 8,691.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.84, or 0.73 percent, to 1,603.91.
- The 2-year Treasury note was up 3/32, yielding 1.507 percent. The benchmark 10-year note rose 22/32 to yield 3.536 percent. The 30-year bond leapt 2-7/32 to yield 3.966 percent.
- The dollar was at 96.98 yen, from 97.70 yen, while the euro slumped to a new two-year low at $1.2901, from $1.2830 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures opened slightly higher and extended gains, but as buying interest waned, futures closed mid-range, 4 3/4 to 7 1/4 cents higher.
- Soybeans: Futures opened slightly higher and sharply extended gains, but finished mid-range as buying interest tapered off late. Soybeans closed 22 to 25 1/2 cents higher.
- Wheat: Futures trimmed gains into the close to finish mostly around 4 to 5 cents higher in Kansas City and Chicago, with gains between 7 to 9 cents in Minneapolis.
- Cotton: Futures closed slightly lower, but near session highs, in all but the December contract, which was 134 points lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures were supported by short-covering throughout the day, but trimmed gains to post a low-range close as cattle futures moved sharply lower in late trade.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures sharply extended losses into the close to post fresh contract lows in some contracts.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Greenspan Admits Errors to Hostile House Panel Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted he made errors in his tenure as Fed chief with a hands-off regulatory philosophy but maintained that no one could have seen this financial downturn coming. However, lawmakers weren't buying that explanation and repeatedly pressed Greenspan on why he didn't take actions to prevent what has now happened. The session was in sharp contrast to his usually appearances before Congress while leading the Fed where he was repeatedly praised for his handling of the nation's monetary policy.
New Loan Fix Is Unlikely the Last
Mexico and Brazil Step In to Fight Currency Declines
IMF Moves to Ease Borrowing Policy
Another Bubble Bursts Opinion item
- Shipping Firms Gear Down as Slow Economy Takes Toll The nation's top four railroads -- Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, Norfolk Southern Corp., and CSX Corp. -- all reported third-quarter drops in volumes from last year. Trucking companies, whose volumes usually rise in September as they gear up for the holidays, reported flat volumes. The number of shipping containers entering the U.S. through its top 10 container ports between January and September was 7.2% lower than it was during the year-earlier period.
- SEC's Cox Backs Merger of Agency With CFTC SEC Chief Cox said he supports merging his agency with that of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) when it comes to monitoring and regulating markets. But CFTC officials contend a merger isn't a simple as it seems as the two agencies really have two different focuses.
- Suncor Delays Oil-Sands Facility Canada's Suncor said it would delay for a year the start up of a upgrader facility and another firm hinted it may also delay an upgrader plan. Both firms signal higher costs are the main culprit in the delays and the decline in oil prices.
- China Targets Rural Economy The item details China's actions to potentially make the Agricultural Bank of China owned by shareholders, one of a series of steps their government has announced aimed at shoring up and bolstering the agricultural/rural sector of their economy.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- West Is in Talks on Credit to Aid Poorer Nations The International Monetary Fund is in talks with several countries for emergency loans is also said to be working on a plan that would set up a credit line which would allow countries the ability to borrow dollars.
- Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation Greenspan admitted he overestimated the desire of firms to protect investor assets and shareholder equity during his tenure at the Fed. He made the remarks during a congressional hearing that was markedly different than those he testified before during this time at the Fed. He also acknowledged that the credit swaps/derivatives market needed to be reined in.
- U.S. Vows More Help for Homeowners . The FDIC chief presenting the plan in Congress said that regulators were "behind" and that action was needed "quickly" as foreclosure filings continue to rise. More details of the plan are expected within the next two weeks, but it would center on helping struggling homeowners.
Some Hedge Funds Argue Against Proposals to Modify Mortgages
- A California Ballot Measure Offers Rights for Farm Animals The measure, Proposition 2, seeks to ban the use of confinement for livestock production, a situation which would mostly affect the state's egg producers as there is little hog or veal production in the state. Opponents say the plan, if approved, would raise prices to consumers at a time when the economy is in decline.
- Mexico Working to Increase Oil Production. Mexico's Senate approved a plan aimed at boosting oil output, but analysts said the measure probably won't do enough to increase oil production.
- New Life for the Death Tax. The writer looks at the estate tax situation and warns that Congress should learn not to put such temporary removals of a tax in place. The estate tax is scheduled to disappear in 2010 but come back at 2001 levels in 2011.
- Greenspan Says He Was Wrong On Regulation Lawmakers Blast Former Fed Chairman Several lawmakers vented their frustrations on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan regarding his handling of monetary policy and and stance on regulation of financial firms that they say led to the excesses that brought about today's financial crisis in the country. For his part, Greenspan admitted he erred on the issue.
Treasury Considers Backing Mortgages
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
- Ethanol support irks cattle groups Livestock and cattle groups are pressing USDA for an explanation of comments made by USDA Sec. Ed Schafer last Friday in Des Moines about potentially giving aid/funds to ethanol plants. The Kansas Livestock Association did not sign the letter as they do not have a position on ethanol, according to a spokesman.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jimmy Kimmel: Barack Obama is taking time "off from campaigning to visit his sick grandmother in Hawaii. Normally, it would be a bad idea to take time off two weeks before” the presidential election. But "at this point,” Obama is "far enough ahead that the only thing really that can stop his campaign is if he finds a mysterious bad luck Tiki doll on the beach.”
Jimmy Kimmel: "Some people think that visiting his sick grandma might actually help” Obama "win more of the elderly vote. In fact, to try to counter that today, John McCain stopped by our nations' capitol to visit his grandmother, Susan B. Anthony McCain.”