Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 2.2 percent, or 290.38 points, to close at 13,603.31.
- The dollar reached a one-month high against the yen, trading around 107.78 yen.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29.88 points, or 0.26 percent, to end at 11,632.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1 percent, or 21.92 points, to 2,325.88.
- The 2-year Treasury note was down 1/32 to yield 2.741 percent. The benchmark 10-year note was down 4/32, yielding 4.120 percent. The 30-year bond was down 6/32, yielding 4.674 percent.
- The dollar traded at 107.86 yen from 107.33, while the euro was at $1.5690 from $1.5779 late Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures closed 1 1/2 to 3 3/4 cents lower, which was near the middle of Wednesday's wide trading range.
- Soybeans: Futures ended well off session lows, but still posted sharp loses for the day.
- Wheat: Futures closed mostly 10 to 13 cents lower in Chicago, 8 to 12 cents lower in Kansas City and 2 cents higher to 11 cents lower in Minneapolis.
- Cotton: Futures broke away from outside markets today to close sharply higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed lower in all but the February contract, which was 22 cents higher on the day.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures rebounded into the close to finish 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)
- Energy Speculation Eludes Senate Curb A bill to limit speculation in energy markets has all but stalled as Democrats are resisting Republican demands for increased oil drilling to be part of the measure. ADM, John Deere & Co., DuPont and Monsanto Co. have formed the Alliance for Abundant Food and Fuel. The pro-ethanol Renewable Fuels Association will be a nonvoting, ex-officio member.
Democrats Against Drilling Editorial
- What the SEC Really Did on Short Selling. Commentary item by Christopher Cox, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The writer says the SEC focused its effort on what it calls "illegitimate" or abusive short selling -- where the seller doesn't actually borrow the stock, and fails to deliver it to the buyer. He says it was issued as an emergency action, but "it is based on several years of experience and analysis."
- USDA Expects Higher Food Prices USDA's first forecast of food prices for 2009 is for another 4% to 5% increase, with a bigger portion of the increase expected to come at the meat counter.
- States Slammed by Tax Shortfalls What's described as a $40 billion shortfall is facing states, caused by "broad economic weakness at the state and local levels." The Fed's Beige Book also signaled weakness.
- Housing Bill Will Extend Federal Role In Markets. The package which was passed in the House earlier this week is expected to be adopted by the Senate and sent off to President Bush who says he will sign it. It expands the reach of the federal government into the housing market and contains some efforts that are relatively untested.
Housing Bill Hammers Taxpayers Editorial
Paulson Directs Push to Support Fannie, Freddie
- Oil Retreat Takes Pressure off Fed Pullback Lessens Need for Rate Boost To Counter Inflation. The near 16% decline in oil prices the past two weeks has some thinking this takes the pressure off of the Fed to raise interest rates to quell inflation at its Aug. 5 meeting.
- Fed Snapshot Isn't Pretty Picture 'Beige Book' Survey Of Economy Shows Costs, Worries Rise. Consumer spending in the report was labeled weak or declining in most of the Fed's 12 districts, and they noted higher fuel costs and higher prices on related goods continue to be worrisome.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Huge Housing Bill Set to Become Law Bush Drops Veto Threat On Measure After an administration shift which was brought by a push from Treasury Sec. Paulson, the House passed the measure which is aimed at trying to stem the decline in the U.S. housing market and signal that the government won't let Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae fail.
- Fed Report Portrays Stressed Economy The latest economic-condition snapshot from the Fed signals an economy that has continued to decline, a soft labor market, banks that are reluctant to lend, higher fuel prices, and consumers hesitant to buy big-ticket items such as autos.
||Monitoring the countryside
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- India says U.S. must offer deeper ag cuts While welcoming the newest U.S. offer to limit its farm subsidies, India is calling on the U.S. to do even more on this front as the latest batch of Doha Round negotiations continues in Geneva.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Conan O'Brien: "In a speech yesterday, big story, Barack Obama called for African-Americans to be better parents. Yeah. That's what he said. Obama said not all black children can be raised by Angelina Jolie.”
Conan O'Brien: "Comedian Bernie Mac performed at a recent Democratic fundraiser. And after he performed at the fundraiser, Barack Obama told him to clean up his act because some of his jokes were about sex and prostitution. Yeah, unfortunately, Bernie Mac couldn't hear Obama's advice because Bill Clinton kept screaming, ‘Encore!'”
Conan O'Brien: "For the second time in two days, John McCain has referred to current events in Czechoslovakia, a country that officially ceased to exist in 1993. Yeah. Afterwards, McCain said, ‘You know, the same thing happened the last time I went to Mesopotamia.'”