Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 260.39 points, or 3.5 percent, to 7,173.10.
- The dollar was at 97.22 yen from 98.20 yen.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 281.40, or 4.1 percent, to 6,594.44, its lowest close since April 1997. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 54.15, or 4 percent, to 1,299.59.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.81 percent from 2.98 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 97.88 yen from 99.07 yen, while the euro was at $1.2558 from $1.2640 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures closed 5 to 6 cents lower, which was mid- range for the day.
- Soybeans: Futures closed 10 to 16 cents lower, with meal and soyoil seeing spillover pressure.
- Wheat: Futures posted a low-range close. Chicago wheat closed mostly around 8 cents lower.
- Cotton: Futures extended losses into the close to finish 57 to 80 cents lower and posted a low-range close.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures opened weaker, but saw short-covering to close mixed.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed moderately to sharply lower on pressure from outside markets.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Retail Sales Show Signs of Life The retail industry reported the first gains in sales since September, although much of the gains were at discount stores like Wal-Mart as the data showed that higher-end stores still were struggling. Even in those stores struggling, sales were down less than expected. Food and consumer electronic items helped to raise the sales picture along with gasoline prices that are considerably lower than year-ago, adding some $14 billion back into consumer pockets.
- GM More Open to Bankruptcy Car Maker Wants to Avoid Filing, but Sees Speedy, U.S.-Financed Plan as an Option While still wanting to avoid filing for bankruptcy, indications are GM is not as adverse to the idea. Expectations are if that were to happen, it would be a pre-packaged bankruptcy which would see cuts agreed to ahead of time.
- Exxon Raises Spending 11% Even as Rivals Reduce Costs. The oil company announced the economic downturn and oil price decline isn't prompting it to change its plans on spending for exploration, etc.
- Stocks Should Matter to Obama The downturn in the stock should matter to the White House as the item points out that more than half of Americans have money in the stock market via mutual funds.
Obama's Radicalism Is Killing the Dow Op-ed item by Michael Boskin.
- Top Treasury Candidates Pull Out Nazareth, Atkinson Decline to Endure Vetting Process, Adding to Geithner's Strain. Nominees for Deputy Treasury Secretary and Undersecretary for International Affairs have withdrawn from consideration and the paper also says a similar development has happened with those tapped to be in the number two spots and Energy and Transportation.
- Spending Measure Delayed in Senate The omnibus spending package for the current fiscal year still needs to be approved by the Senate where they currently lack enough votes to get it through.
- China's Central Bank Governor Signals Confidence. The official said some indicators were beginning to turn upward, a sign that the efforts undertaken by the Chinese government so far were working.
- The Climate Change Lobby Has Regrets Cap and trade is going to cost them. Those backing cap-and-trade as a way to address climate change issues are coming to the realization that the plan is going to cost them as the government wants the revenues from the effort.
- Maersk Profit Falls Amid Soft Container Demand . The economic downturn is also showing in the shipping industry where the Danish firm reported its profit fell in 2008 and predicted a "difficult" 2009 ahead.
New York Times (registration to site required)
||Monitoring the countryside
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Ex-official at ISU defends his work for USDA The former ISU official said that there was only $3,000 in foreign travel spent under the contract that was cancelled by USDA which SEcretary Vilsack highlighted at a White House news conference this week.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Well, folks, it's happened again. President Obama's latest nominee for US trade representative, a man named Ron Kirk," owes "$10,000 in unpaid back taxes. Apparently, when it comes to taxes, 'yes, we can' is now, 'no, we didn't.'"
David Letterman: "Here's a great story. In New Jersey, somebody bought a lottery ticket" and won "$212 million. ... Now, under the new Obama plan, after taxes, that person will have enough money left over to buy another lottery ticket."
David Letterman: "By the way, ladies and gentlemen, Rush Limbaugh is the new face of the Republican Party. And I'm thinking, if I see any more of Rush Limbaugh, I'm going to have to send my housekeeper out to buy me painkillers."
Jimmy Fallon: "The Republican Party said it would donate Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe to a needy cause. That's nice, that's nice. They looked around. It turns out the neediest cause is the Republican Party."