Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 321.05 points, or 3.7 percent, to 8,916.06 -- its highest close in three months.
- The dollar was at 100.08 yen from 99.72 yen.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 47.55, or 0.6 percent, to 7,837.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 29.05, or 1.9 percent, to 1,590.66.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.86 percent from 2.90 percent late Tuesday.
- The dollar was at 99.64 yen from 100.37 yen, while the euro was at $1.3255 from $1.3266 late Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures saw a choppy day of trade, but didn't stray too far away from unchanged. Nearby contracts closed 1/4 to 3/4 cent higher, while deferred futures finished narrowly mixed.
- Soybeans: Futures favored gains through the day after briefly trading mixed on the open. Nearby contracts closed 10 to 16 cents higher, while deferred futures were 6 to 7 cents higher.
- Wheat: Futures opened mixed, turned higher, but then saw profit-taking into the close to finish weaker.
- Cotton: Futures opened mixed and gained upward momentum on spillover from grains and outside markets.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures were mixed through the day. Nearby contracts closed weaker and far-deferred contracts ended firmer amid spreading.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures favored a firmer tone through the day. Live cattle closed mixed, with April down 22 cents, August steady and the rest of the pit 2 to 22 cents higher.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Moody's Strips Berkshire of Top Rating Citing the weakening economy and a "severe decline" in the equity markets, Moody's lowered the venerable firm which has seen its stock value decline 33% over the past year.
- Fed Officials Split on Best Path While minutes of the March 17-18 Fed meeting showed a unanimous view that they should purchase long-term securities, they weren't on the same page on the best way to do that.
- Obama Falls Short of Dealing with Deficit Budget Plans Sound Fiscally Responsible But Don't Add Up The writer applauds the administration's plans to curb health care spending as a key to deficit reduction, but warns that alone will not be enough and there may not be as much tax revenue from those making over $250,000 as the president's budget assumes.
Obama Risks Liberal Backlash on War Funding
More States Look to Raise Taxes
- White House Flexibility Signaled on Climate Bill. The Obama administration says it can be flexible on the issue of climate change, so long as whatever package emerges still supports a clean-energy economy, "green" job creation and cutting oil imports.
- In Japan, Stimulus Plan Seen Bigger Another economic stimulus plan is coming in Japan that is larger than expected and contains emergency steps to generate jobs and help corporate finance, and strategies to reinforce Japan's competitiveness.
- Legal Food Fights Put Manufacturers On Defensive Over Labels, Marketing. Lawyers that pursue lawsuits against food companies say they're just wanting to make sure consumers get the right information on what's in the food they're eating.
- Death Blow Even 35% isn't enough for the envy club. Editorial. The paper criticizes lawmakers who opposed the amendment approved as part of the budget resolution to raise the exemption level and lower the estate tax rate that was proposed in the Obama budget.
- Steelmakers Accuse China of Dumping in the U.S. U.S. steelmakers have filed another antidumping complaint against China, this time $2.7 billion in imports from China, maintaining that such imports tripled from 2006 to 2008. The International Trade Commission is to make a decision by May 26.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- How Bernanke Staged a Revolution This chairman set out to lead as a civil servant rather than a celebrity economist. Facing a thundering financial collapse, he has reinvented the Federal Reserve. The item profiles the qualities that Bernanke has used in essentially remaking the Fed as it seeks to address the worst financial crisis faced by this country for some 80 years. It notes he has an uncanny ability to synthesize and digest all the various views at the Fed as they discuss options on how to proceed.
- Science Chief Discusses Climate Strategy Obama Adviser Hints at Compromise on Cap-and-Trade Emission Allowances Indications are that there is some give from the administration side relative to their initial position of a 100% auction relative carbon credits. The item also notes the House is moving ahead with a plan to put climate change legislation on the floor of that chamber in May.
- Small-Business Agency Prodded to Spur Lending Lawmaker Stresses Urgency of Programs Lawmakers are pressing the head of the Small Business Administration to get going on utilizing funds for lending to small businesses that were in the economic stimulus package. The agency counters it has indeed gotten some of the money rolling from the package.
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
- Farmers in ‘holding pattern' Planting delay due to weather has area producers worried Rains and snow have combined to hold up spring fieldwork and has farmers worried about how this season could play out.
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: 10. Change mascot from an elephant to a can of Mountain Dew 9. Buy one of them computers all the kids are using 8. Appoint Michael Phelps chairman in charge of chillaxing 7. They should totally start a band 6. Change Rush Limbaugh's name to Spongerush Fatpants 5. Add highlights to combovers and hairpieces 4. Four words: Lil Wayne for Senator 3. Bring back this guy 2. How 'bout stealing and ordering hits like when Nixon ran things 1. Fewer reactionary old white guys