Mortgage Rates Surge

May 28, 2009 07:00 PM

Snapshot of news and events for today

Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 71.11, or 0.8 percent, to 9,522.5 as of the close in Tokyo.

  • Currencies: The dollar weakened to $1.3997 per euro as of 8:24 a.m. in London, from $1.3941 in New York yesterday, bringing its decline this month to 5.5 percent, the most since December. The yen depreciated to 135.33 per euro, from 135.04. The Japanese currency traded at 96.66 per dollar, from 96.85.

Thursday U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 103.78 points, or 1.3 percent, to 8,403.80. . The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 20.71, or 1.2 percent, to 1,751.79.
  • The 10-year Treasury note was up 6/32, or $1.875 per $1,000 face value, at 95 15/32. Its yield fell to 3.674 percent from 3.695 percent on Wednesday, as yields move inversely to prices. The 30-year bond was up 1 8/32 to yield 4.527 percent.

  • The dollar was weaker against most currencies. Late Thursday in New York, the euro was at $1.3941 from $1.3899 late Wednesday, while the dollar was at 96.92 yen from 95.20 yen. The euro was at 135.11 yen from 132.32 yen. The pound was at $1.5941 from $1.6007 late Wednesday, while the dollar was at 1.0852 Swiss francs from 1.0875 francs.

Ag futures Thursday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened the prior trading day...

  • Corn: Futures saw choppy trade, but in the end, were 2 to 3 cents firmer, which was a mid-range close.
  • Soybeans: Futures saw a choppy day of trade, closing mixed amid bull spread unwinding. Nearbys closed 2 to 8 cents lower, while deferreds were mostly 3 cents firmer. Meal also closed mixed, with soyoil steady to marginally higher.

  • Wheat: Futures traded on both sides of unchanged, but in the end Minneapolis wheat closed mostly weaker amid profit-taking. Kansas City and Chicago wheat closed 4 to 5 cents higher.
  • Cotton: Futures extended losses into the close to finish 91 to 135 points lower, as sell stops were triggered.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed slightly higher, seeing short-covering support. Futures closed 7 1/2 to 50 cents higher. Prices closed near the session low in more quiet trading.
  • Live Cattle: Live and feeder cattle futures were weaker, with nearby live cattle extending early losses.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






May 25



Grain Inspections (A)
Poultry Slaughter (N)
Monthly Milk Cost of Production (E)

Crop Progress (N)


Weather - Crop Summary (N)
Broiler Hatchery (N)


Dairy Products Prices - Annual (N)
Peanut Stocks and Processing (N)
Dairy Products - Ann. (N)
Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade (F)


U.S. Export Sales (F)
Dairy Products Prices (N)
Agricultural Prices (N)
Milk Disposition and Income Final Estimates 2003-2007 (N)
Poultry Production and Value Final Estimates 2003-2007 (N)
Poultry - Production and Value (N)
Milk - PDI (N)
Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income Final Estimates 2003-2007 (N)
Egg Products Meat Animals - PDI(N)
Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook(E)
Peanut Prices

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • GM in Last Lap to Chapter 11 GM faces a trip to bankruptcy court, with the Obama administration pushing through a restructuring that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars more than previously envisioned and turn the auto maker into a government ward.
  • Fed Holds Steady as Rates Rise in Market Fed officials believe the recent rise in Treasury yields could reflect a mending economy, suggesting the Fed won't rush to react.
  • Mortgage Rates Surge, Sap Hopes Home-mortgage rates have surged to their highest level in more than three months, threatening prospects for quick rebounds in the housing market and consumer spending. Mortgage rates are being pushed up in part by a steep increase in yields on long-term Treasury bonds, which have a strong influence on the cost of home loans.
  • Financial Overhaul Raises Questions Obama administration officials are debating whether to pare some of their more ambitious ideas to revamp oversight of financial markets, in a nod to the political difficulties of pushing through sweeping changes, people familiar with the process say.
  • Obama Set to Create 'Cyber Czar' Position President Barack Obama will announce today the creation of a "cyber czar" position, stepping up his administration's efforts to better protect the nation's computer networks.
  • U.S. to Urge China To Shop, Not Save Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner heads to Beijing this weekend to urge Chinese leaders to fundamentally alter the export-oriented economy that has created years of trans-Pacific trade tensions.

  • Microsoft's 'Bing' to Take on Google Microsoft Corp. mounted a renewed effort against Google Inc. with the announcement of a new Internet search engine called Bing designed to make hunting for online information easier.
  • Chinese Banks Lend Now, May Pay Later More lending has helped keep China's economy growing, but some worry of lowered standards, threatening progress made by reforms.
  • Banks Balk at U.S. Push to Rein In Derivatives Wall Street is mobilizing to fend off some rules that are meant to improve derivatives transparency but that could dent bank profit.
  • Obama Erects New Hurdles for M&A Acquisitive companies often tout consumer benefits to win antitrust approval for mergers. Will the Obama administration keep buying it? Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission dinged a merger for the first time since President Obama tapped a new chairman. It filed suit against Australia's CSL, arguing its $3.1 billion acquisition of U.S. rival Talecris Biotherapeutics could encourage collusion in the blood-plasma industry.

New York Times (registration to site required)

  • Still Working, but Making Do With Less For millions of families, the recession has not meant a layoff, but a pay cut that has forced them to thrash through daily calculations.
  • Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad The promises of going organic — a steady paycheck and salvation for small family farms — have collapsed in the last six months. As the trend toward organic food consumption slows after years of explosive growth, no sector is in direr shape than the $1.3 billion organic milk industry. Farmers nationwide have been told to cut milk production by as much as 20 percent, and many are talking of shutting down.
  • Rule Change for Workers on Farms Carrying out one of the first promises she made after taking office in March, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis is suspending regulations adopted by the Bush administration to govern wages and recruitment of immigrant guest workers for agriculture.
  • Study Reveals Changes Among Second-Generation Hispanics The American-born children of parents who arrived in the vast immigrant tide from Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America since 1980 now constitute a majority of Hispanic youngsters in the United States.
  • More Homeowners Facing Foreclosure More homeowners than ever before are falling behind on mortgage payments and sliding into foreclosure, according to figures released Thursday, a sign that the housing crisis is spreading through the ranks of previously stable borrowers.

Washington Post

Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: “President Barack Obama’s in Los Angeles tonight for a huge fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Actually, one awkward moment -- as Obama was entering the Beverly Hilton, he bumped into John Edwards, who was sneaking out.”

Jay Leno: “People in Beverly Hills had a lot of questions for the President about health care. They wanted to make sure that tummy tucks and Brazilian butt lifts were covered under Medicare.”

Jay Leno: “And we’re learning more and more about Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. … She grew up in New York City, close to Yankee Stadium. And she is still a lifelong Yankee fan, which works out great for her because…the Supreme Court’s next session doesn’t begin until October, and by that time, the Yankees are usually done with it.”

Jay Leno: “Let me tell you something. These Supreme Court nominees have it a lot tougher being interviewed by President Obama because he used to be a constitutional law professor. So he knows what questions to ask. See, when Bill Clinton had female nominees, he just had the one question – ‘Let’s see how you look under that robe.’”

Jay Leno: “And during her confirmation hearings, Judge Sotomayor is going to get tough questions from the senators. But I think she’ll be fine. I mean, this is a woman who spent her whole life in the courtroom, so she’s used to be around criminals.”

Jay Leno: “I read in the -- this seems a little scary -- in the paper today, President Obama had less than a one-hour warning of North Korea’s nuclear tests. Yeah. Well, that’s not bad when you realize he has absolutely no warning when Joe Biden’s going to go off.”

Jay Leno: “And during a speech at a high school, former President George W. Bush said he’s really enjoying the fact that he’s no longer president. Hey, join the club.”

Jay Leno: “And the American College of Sports Medicine announced its list of the fittest cities in the United States. It’s surprising -- you know what the number one fittest city is? … Washington, D.C. Number one. Yeah. I wouldn’t have guessed that. But, see, it’s from all of the Democrats running away from Nancy Pelosi, and all of the Republicans running away from Rush Limbaugh. So they all stay in shape. That’s how it works.”

Jay Leno: “Even with the recession, the price of gas continues to go up. And some economists say that’s because speculators think the economy will turn around soon, and when things are good, gas prices are high. …But you know, when things are bad, gas prices are high. … I’m not an economist, but here’s a wild thought. Maybe the oil companies are just trying to screw us.”

Jimmy Fallon: “President Barack Obama’s in Las Vegas. So, if things go well at the table, General Motors just might make it.”

Jimmy Fallon: “Meanwhile, after running out of options, Chrysler headed to bankruptcy court this morning. That isn’t good. They headed there in a brand new Mitsubishi. That was even worse.”

Jimmy Fallon: “On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh called supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a ‘reverse racist.’ I got to hand it to Limbaugh. That guy is a reverse genius.”

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